John Kasich has spent the past few months on the presidential campaign trail trying to play the approachable moderate on financial and social issues.

But a recent article by AP statehouse reporter Julie Carr Smyth found that Kasich’s handpicked staffers decided which abortion restrictions would be included in the last state budget,  contrary to the governor’s comments that the legislature was driving it all with him as a neutral bystander

Smyth writes, “Believing state legislators were solely responsible for abortion restrictions added to the 2013 budget bill, activists and editorialists across Ohio called on Gov. John Kasich to veto the provisions. What they didn’t know at the time was that Kasich’s office had a hand in developing some of the language.”

In 2013, Ohio Governor John Kasich claimed he was waiting to see what abortion restrictions would be included in the state budget. Then, he said, he would provide his options after they passed through the legislature.

Governors submit executive budget and lawmakers accept, reject or modify them. It’s not uncommon, therefore, that a governor’s office helps draft legislation. In this case, the AP’s Smyth writes, Kasich had “presented himself publicly as uninvolved and neutral as the legislative provisions emerged.”

But Kasich aides began helping hone some of that language about 18 months before it emerged publicly, according to internal emails obtained by an abortion provider and given to The Associated Press last month. The governor’s office confirmed the emails’ authenticity.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s Executive Director Kellie Copeland commented on the finding: “John Kasich is not to be trusted. He hides behind a moderate mask, but the truth is he has been quietly working behind the scenes to impose his radical personal views on Ohioans.”

Ms. Copeland said the email trail reported on today reveals that Kasich’s staff has, for years, been spearheading work with legislators and Ohio Right to Life to abuse the state’s regulatory authority to close abortion clinics.

Kasich was caught on tape lying about it. At an appearance in Bowling Green, Ohio, Gov. Kasich was asked point blank about these measures.

Sandy Theis, executive director of the liberal policy group ProgressOhio, said Kasich had a political reason to conceal any role his office played.

“Gov. Kasich intentionally hid the pivotal role he played in Ohio’s assault on reproductive rights,” she said. “He did this because he knows Ohio remains a pro-choice state and he does not want to be held accountable for his actions.”

It’s basic Kasich to deny knowledge or play dumb when that’s required to get out of a tight situation. True to his past practices, Mr. Kasich pretended he didn’t know anything about them. As suspected, the email trail shows the governor and his team crafted medically unnecessary regulations so they could use the Ohio Department of Health [ODH] to close abortion clinics.

Gov. Kasich was roundly criticized for his appointment of a new director for ODH. His counter-intuitive, perfect-pick to protect public health is not a licensed doctor or qualified health professional, as state law mandates.

Ohio abortion providers continue to wage costly legal battles against Kasich’s 2013 and 2015 restrictions. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is working to stop even more abortion restrictions from reaching Gov. Kasich’s desk.