Ohio Dems sue GOP governor to get public schedules

12:18 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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COLUMBUS --  Ohio Democrats sued GOP Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday to get access to public schedules they allege could show he's misusing state time to campaign for Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

The lawsuit came the same day Kasich appeared with Romney and running mate Paul Ryan on a campaign swing through the battleground state.

The action filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court charges Kasich with violating state public records law by failing to produce copies of his public schedules. Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern said the party's request has been pending for 42 days.

Kasich's office was unable to provide immediate comment.

In 2008, then-Gov. Ted Strickland campaigned for two Democratic presidential contenders, first Hillary Rodham Clinton and then Barack Obama, during Ohio campaign appearances. It is common for governors to both appear with presidential candidates on the campaign trail and to help them raise money in the state.

Jerid Kurtz, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, said the dispute is primarily over Kasich's response to the records request.

"While past governors and current statewide officeholders campaign, they comply with the law," Kurtz said. "We've seen Gov. Kasich take questionably timed actions that seem to use his public office to attack the president and benefit Mitt Romney. Combined with the alarming lack of transparency, we'd just like to know what's going on."

After false starts backing former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kasich remained neutral in the state's Republican primaries in March. He had relationships from his congressional days with at least two other presidential hopefuls, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich.

He eventually endorsed Romney in April, citing his experience in the business world.

Kasich ran briefly for president himself in 2000.

 

JULIE CARR SMYTH
AP Statehouse Correspondent

 

The Associated Press

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