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· September 21, 2012

Kasich asserts never used executive privilege exemption to keep his schedule under wraps

The President of the United States releases his schedule. Mitt Romney, the guy who wants to be President of the United States, releases his schedule. (I just saw it for today on an MSNBC graphic) The White House even regularly issues a report of every person on their entrance logs. As I learned from a well-reported story by Aaron Marshall of The Plain Dealer, John Kasich is having none of that. He’s using an exemption created by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2006 for ‘executive privilege’ to hide information about his schedule from a public records request. That exemption, by the way, has never been used by any other governor who could have used it – both former governors, Bob Taft and Ted Strickland, according to the Plain Dealer. Strickland even provided thousands of pages of documents to a legislator who made an overly broad request for public records involving the creation of Strickland’s public education policies. To be fair, politicians or other public officials often release their “public” schedules as a matter of course. Again, Strickland used to release several days worth of his upcoming schedule every Friday afternoon. What’s released for President Barack Obama and other presidents are their public schedules. But, and this is a big but, when asked by the media or outside interest groups, presidents, governors and other high ranking public officials release information about non-public events. Why? Because the American people who elected them and pay their freight sometimes want to know who has their leader’s ear. When important issues of public policy are being determined, an informed citizenry has a right to know, at least, who was in the room. For example: When issues involving the oil and gas industry are being discussed are gas company lobbyists there? Was the Ohio Environmental Council also there? Was there anyone there representing the regional infrastructure interests where drilling may occur? Kasich Administration staff have contexted this schedule kerfluffle in partisan terms because the requester happens to be the Ohio Democratic Party. A little advice to this overly protective staff: Grow up. Every governor deals with public records requests, many of them from partisan or opposing interests. It’s part of the job. Don’t take it personal. When public officials do take public information requests personal and drag their feet or build the stone wall, what’s a reporter/citizen/partisan to do other than ask – what have you got to hide?

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