The following statement is permitted for republication and attribution on behalf of Plunderbund Media, LLC, an Ohio limited liability company and in response to Speaker Batchelder’s statement concerning State Representative Mecklenborg (R-Green Township):
“On behalf of Plunderbund, we share the Speaker’s sympathies to the pain, embarrassment and humiliation that State Representative Mecklenborg’s wife, children, and the rest of his family may be suffering right now. However, this is not, as the Speaker suggested, a ‘situation’ that is happening. This is something that is the direct consequence of the Representative’s alleged actions and behavior. If the Speaker and Representative Mecklenborg are having trouble determining who is to blame for this ‘difficult situation’ we would suggest providing Representative Meckelborg with a mirror. He is to blame, not those who merely reported what was largely a matter of public record.
“We were shocked and disappointed that the Speaker of the House, a learned and respected jurist, would publicly suggest that Representative Mecklenborg is entitled to privacy on facts that are a matter of both public concern and public record, in which there can be no expectation of privacy. State Representative Mecklenborg is accused of a crime, and he is a public figure. We note that he has yet to suggest that anything we reported in our coverage was false or misleading. There is nothing harmful in reporting the truth.
“Given that the Speaker just permitted the passage of a bill that so interfered with every Ohio woman’s private reproductive rights so severely that even the Ohio Right-to-Life publicly stated it was likely to be declared an unconstitutional infringement on their privacy, the Speaker’s demand that public information about Representative Mecklenborg be kept private is insulting and hypocritical.
“It is entirely reasonable and natural for the public to want to know what the nature of the relationship Representative Mecklenborg has to his publicly identified alleged victim, Tiona Roberts, a woman who is not married to the Representative, appears to have no blood relationship to him, is almost half his age, and yet was a passenger in his vehicle when he was allegedly driving while intoxicated at nearly 3 a.m. on a Friday night in April in Indiana.
“We were also surprised that the Speaker made no mention of Representative Mecklenborg’s constituents, but they have a right to know the full publicly available facts of the crime their elective representative is accused of committing so that they can intelligently determine whether he can, or should, continue to serve them. The House has an obligation to examine whether such allegations suggest that the current Chairman of the House Government and Ethics Committee has the moral authority and credibility to continue to chair the making of the State’s ethics and “good government” policies. This requires public discussion of public facts, even uncomfortable and publicly known personal facts.
“By keeping such information private exposes elected officials to potential extortion and blackmail. Sunlight is the best disinfectant. We presented the facts. We leave it to his constituents to determine whether those facts are relevant in deciding whether he can continue to effectively serve and represent their communities. We report. They decide.”—Brian Hester, Executive Editor