The Associated Press has finally asked the question we have been asking for quite some time: where is the promised report on Noe-Coingate from the Ohio Inspector General?
The AP buries the lede on this.
The scandal isn’t just that Inspector General Meyer hasn’t issued a report even though his predecessor claimed that all of the work was completed in 2011. The real story, as illustrated by the quote from Chris Redfern at the end of the article, is that the Inspector General continues to try to distract everyone by issuing reports on inconsequential stuff.
The AP should have asked: What has the Office of the Inspector General been doing INSTEAD of issuing this report?
Plunderbund readers know the answer: REALLY important stuff. Like:
- In March, Meyer released a report after a six month investigation criticizing a lottery employee may have been using a state credit card to purchase gasoline for personal use. The amount of money involved was about $1500. The report also reviewed the use by the state employee of premium v. regular gasoline.
- In July, Meyer released a report following a a five month long investigation finding that employees of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were hunting deer while on duty.
- Last week, Meyer release a report concluding that an ODNR employee was using a state credit card to pay for propane to heat his home. The amount of money involved was a little over $5000.
All of these reports have one thing in common: the cost of the report was much greater than the amount of money saved. (We aren’t suggesting that misconduct should be ignored, just that an Inspector General is a bazooka shooting a flies; all of this stuff could have been done by HR staff.)
Even if Meyer wants to continue to bury Coingate, we have some other things he could do to uncover real waste, fraud, and abuse in state government. All he has to do is read Plunderbund:
- We reported that the Ohio Emergency Management Agency was forced to repay $2.9 million from Ohio’s General Fund to the Federal Department of Homeland Security for misspent homeland security grant money.
- We reported that the Ohio Department of Corrections had fired two members of the Ohio Parole Board solely because of political affiliation.
- We reported that the Kasich Administration was paying a private consultant $3200/hour for a report on the proposed privatization.
So why not just issue report? The Inspector General could always issue a report that blames everything on Noe (who is already in prison). After all, as Modern pointed out in regards to the Report about the “Governor’s Mansion” scandal in 2010, the Office of the Inspector General has a reputation for drawing conclusion that are not supported by the evidence. (See also here for Modern’s take on the general credibility of OIG conclusions and here for the FOP’s take on things in the past).
The short answer is that once a report is issued, most of the investigatory materials become public record. This includes interviews with all those involved. So even if the report is a whitewash, the media and the public will be able to see what people say and draw their own conclusion.