• 52°

Court order shouldn’t be needed

Ohio’s inspector general — the chief watchdog of state government — claims to be conducting an “ongoing” investigation of the Coingate scandal, nine years after that inquiry began.

Incredibly, the office appears still not to have interviewed the figure at the center of the affair: former Lucas County Republican Party chairman Tom Noe, who is doing time in a state prison for his crimes.

That lapse raises several questions: What kind of investigation is this? Is it really meant to get to the bottom of the scandal, or rather to cover up and delay and protect certain people?

The Blade is suing Inspector General Randall Meyer, an appointee of Gov. John Kasich, to compel release of his office’s final report on Coingate. Mr. Meyer has refused to do so, six years after the last prosecution in the case….

A total of 19 criminal convictions arose from “Coingate,” including a no-contest plea by then-Gov. Bob Taft in 2005 to misdemeanor ethics violations. In 2012, after years of silence by the inspector general’s office about the status of the investigation, Mr. Meyer pledged to produce a final report.

State law requires the inspector general to “prepare a detailed report of each investigation” and to treat its completed reports as public records….

Litigation should not be needed to goad the inspector general into action, for this is a matter of obvious public interest. Evidently, though, only a court order will compel the inspector general’s office to fulfill its duties under the law.

 

The (Toledo) Blade