This is something I wrote last summer & would like to share . . .
On Friday, August 19, 2005, Governor Bob Taft of Ohio became the first sitting governor of Ohio to be convicted of a crime: four criminal counts of failure to disclose golf outings and gifts. He has apologized for his misconduct but refuses to resign his office despite members of both parties asking for his resignation.
His sentence? No jail time but a four thousand dollar fine -- $1,000 per count. This is a paltry sum when one considers the wealth the Taft family has amassed at the expense of the citizens of Ohio over the years. And oh yeah, he has to email all the state employees & news media in Ohio and apologize to them. That will take what? Ten minutes? A half hour? I suppose it depends on how fast his administrative assistant can type.
I find it interesting to note that Taft didn’t take an interest in whether his golf outings were illegally funded until his long-time friend & golf companion, Thomas Noe, was accused of stealing over $4 million dollars from the Bureau of Workers Compensation which may have lost up to $300 million as a result of its dealings with Noe. Taft’s former chief of staff, Brian K. Hicks, was also connected to the growing Noe scandal and has already been convicted of an ethics violation recently and fired.
Bob Taft made ethics training mandatory for both his administration’s employees and; himself and fired those who violated the ethics code. His attorney emphasized and reiterated that, throughout the investigation, Taft cooperated with the commission. Frankly, I don’t understand why this would be an issue – any honorable person would and should take responsibility for his/her actions & I expect no less from my governor. This raises a question in my mind: Why shouldn’t he be fired for not following his own rules? Taft claims that his failure to report these outings was inadvertent. Have you ever tried to tell the government – especially the IRS -- your crime was inadvertent? It doesn’t fly too well. I don’t consider over 21 undisclosed instances inadvertent. I consider them a betrayal of the trust that Ohioans placed in Bob Taft when they elected him. His association with Noe has further destroyed his credibility and suitability to serve in the highest office in this State. He says he has a lot he still wants to do. I think he’s done enough and I respectfully request his resignation.
-- Kay Dennison