August 25, 2020 at 8:18 PM
In the latest outrageous development in the federal investigation into House Bill 6, the Ohio House has refused to release all the documents that have been subpoenaed by the FBI in relation to the ongoing corruption investigation.
So, just so we're clear. They hid behind a shell game of dark money organizations and unethical lobbyists to grease palms to the tune of $60 million to pass the worst energy policy in America. Now they want to hide even more evidence from the taxpayers -- and the feds! -- by withholding legislative documents in the HB 6 bribery scandal? So much for the General Assembly's claims about repairing the public's trust!
The fact that we don't have complete transparency throughout the legislative process is why we're in this mess to begin with! It makes no sense, unless our legislators still have something to hide? The Legislative Service Commission bill drafts, amendments, and other working documents are part of the work paid for by We the People. Stop messing around. We have a right to see any work produced in the public's name using public dollars.
The Ohio House Leadership must immediately release these documents. If they refuse, we urge the Department of Justice to pursue them in court. We're confident a federal judge will agree that -- especially in Ohio --"sunshine is the best disinfectant."
-- Commentary by Lisa Maatz, Ohio Citizen Action Senior Advisor
Rep. Householder Elected Speaker of the 133rd General Assembly, Source: Ohio House
"House officials were served with the federal subpoena July 20, the day before the arrests in what U.S. Attorney Dave DeVillers called the biggest public corruption case in Ohio history.
The withheld documents and emails, many of which involve proposed amendments and records requests involving correspondence with House lawyers, can remain secret because of attorney-client privilege, the House said.
Others were withheld due to an exception to state public records law that cloaks the dealings between lawmakers and the Legislative Service Commission, which writes legislation, in confidentiality.
A claim of privilege to withhold records under a federal subpoena can be asserted, but a judge ultimately will rule if the claim is legitimate or if the records must be produced, said a Department of Justice spokesman."
-- Randy Ludlow, Columbus Dispatch