Okay, looks like I missed a spot in my analysis of the RobsOhio legislation that the Associated Press picked up today.
An apparent loophole in legislation creating Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s new semi-private job-creation board could allow panel members to take job-seeking trips paid for by corporations without having to report them to the public.
The bill establishing JobsOhio requires that only "actual expenditures" on travel, meals or lodging be reported. That phrasing would seem to exclude plane rides, dinners and hotel rooms that companies may offer to Kasich’s economic development team as they seek to bring jobs to Ohio.
The bill would still require Governor Kasich to report such trips and entertainment gifts, but it exempts the rest of the JobsOhio from such public disclosure.
Oh, and in all my writing about the bill’s text, I forgot to stress a major point about RobsOhio that is very telling. The entire thing was drafted by a lobbyist:
Columbus lobbyist Robert Klaffky, a Kasich confidante who helped research and draft the bill, told The Associated Press he believed its intent was for corporate-paid entertainment expenses to be included in a yearly summary of JobsOhio activity. He conceded the wording requiring only "actual expenses" to be reported may not achieve that goal.
Not only did this high-profile lobbyist draft the RobsOhio plan, but when Kasich set out to explain this to the legislature, the Columbus Dispatch reported that the Governor sent the lobbyist not his own staff to explain it to them:
Last month, Kasich had Klaffky explain the JobsOhio bill in private to the GOP House and Senate caucuses – a role usually consigned to an administration official and rarely to a lobbyist.
And yet, the Governor maintains that his close relationship with lobbyist will in no way impact the outcome of public policy in his Administration:
Kasich said he has made it clear to everybody: “Friendships end at the governor’s door.”
So what was the Governor’s response to AP that his lobbyist friend had written into his RobsOhio plan a major loophole that would allow companies to wine and dine JobsOhio executives, board members, and employees with impunity?
A spokesman for Kasich did not offer immediate comment.
Imagine that. C’mon Rob Nichols, this is what you’re getting paid the big bucks to spin! Earn that inflated salary!
But isn’t John Kasich just so adorable when he’s this naive? He honestly thinks that despite having a lobbyist draft and sell his JobsOhio plan to the legislature, he’s actually kept the “special interests’ snouts out off the trough.”