We have told you before that Gov. Kasich’s mouthpiece, Rob Nichols, has a reputation for NOT telling the truth. The flap of the week is playing out alongside the ongoing trial of Ben Suarez, the North Canton businessman accused of asking politicians for political favors, then illegally laundering campaign contributions to them.

US Rep. Jim Renacci and Treasurer Josh Mandel have been getting the bulk of the bad press but Kasich finds himself in the hot seat over Nichols’ initial denial of involvement, and his claim that the administration made it clear it could not help Suarez.

But the governor’s own legal counsel did try to help Suarez.  Attorney Mike Grodhaus sent a letter asking the California attorney general to “review the actions of the Napa County District Attorney to determine whether anything improper has occurred or is occurring in this purported investigation … and report back to me.’’ A group of 10 district attorneys charged a Suarez company with deceptive advertising, unfair competition and violating a court-ordered injunction. Suarez settled the suit in January for $1.8 million.

Sounds to me like an attempt to influence an ongoing investigation or regulatory proceeding initiated by a district attorney in another state – something Grodhaus told Suarez in a previous letter that he would not do, finding it ‘inappropriate.”

Ed FitzGerald, the Democrat challenging Kasich, urged Columbus-based reporters on Tuesday to ask Kasich if he knew that his top lawyer wrote this questionable letter on behalf of a big GOP donor.

Without attribution, The Plain Dealer gives Kasich a pass:

“Kasich chief counsel, Mike Grodhaus, on his own volition, wrote on Suarez’s behalf to California’s attorney general, asking her to review the actions of the 10 district attorneys who filed the lawsuit, and to determine if they had done anything improper.”

And poor Nichols is now dismissing the letter as a “perfunctory, garden-variety casework,” according to the AP.

Grodhaus is a well-seasoned government lawyer who does not seem like the type to write that kind of letter on behalf of a big donor without his client’s permission. It is even more unlikely that he’d do so now since his client is the sitting governor of Ohio.

If Kasich really didn’t know, Grodhaus should go.