It was revealed today in Plunderbund that NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation has been having a difficult time getting public records requests met by the Ohio Department of Health relating to its relationship to Ohio Right to Life.
One entity that hasn’t had much trouble getting its records requests met by the ODH is Ohio Right to Life itself. Documents obtained by Plunderbund show the ODH fulfilling public records requests by ORTL regarding disciplinary action taken toward the Northeast Ohio Women’s Center and the Bedford Heights Health Center/Planned Parenthood the very same day they were requested, and before the clinics themselves were notified of the then-pending disciplinary actions.
Everyone else has to wait anywhere between four to 12 weeks for public records related to inspection reports.
But a July 31, 2014, letter from ORTL President Michael Gonidakis, emailed that day to the ODH requesting “any enforcement actions or other correspondence during the previous ten days” with the aforementioned ambulatory surgical facilities was filled that very evening.
The email exchange reveals that ORTL was able to obtain records from the ODH in real time, publishing them 3 hours later online, culminating in a Plain Dealer story just one day later, on Aug. 1, before the clinics themselves had even received via U.S. postage the ODH letters regarding adjudication of their own administrative hearings.
In essence, ORTL is being afforded information from the ODH regarding its rulings on clinic before the clinics themselves receive the information. And not only is the ORTL being served in real time, the group’s making the requests early in the morning after the disciplinary report was written indicates the group could have knowledge of ODH’s actions before they are even committed to public record.
An email from Gonidakis at 8:47 a.m. saying he is “looking forward to the others,” meaning the other disciplinary reports, indicates this communication was sent before the reports were incorporated into the public record, and before ORTL even officially filed a public records request for them.
A pdf file (2.5MB) containing all of the emails is available here.