Ohio House Democratic Leader Armond Budish and Senate Democratic Leader Capri Cafaro sent a letter to Gov. Kasich questioning the conduct of Inspector General Randall Meyer after news he participated in the most partisan of activities – fundraising for the Republican Party. The Ohio Inspector General is a non-partisan agent responsible for investigating fraud and corruption of state officials.
“In order to maintain the integrity of the Inspector General’s office, I am calling on Gov. Kasich to immediately suspend Mr. Meyer. I believe this suspension will give the Governor the opportunity to review the facts and make an informed decision about Mr. Meyer’s future ability to fairly and objectively carry out his duties,” said Leader Budish.
Leader Cafaro added that, “Inspector Generals are expected to hold themselves to a higher standard and that includes avoiding partisan political activity in order to protect the integrity of the office.”
A copy of the letter can be seen below.
January 19, 2012
The Honorable John Kasich, Governor
77 S. High Street, 30th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
Dear Governor Kasich:
It is with great concern that we write to you today regarding Ohio Inspector General Randall Meyer’s participation in a political fundraiser last week. We believe this to be an extremely serious breach of protocol for a public official charged with objectively investigating wrongdoing in state government.
In fact, we do not believe that the Inspector General should be participating in political fundraisers for either party, as his office has suggested. The Ohio Inspector General’s appearance at political fundraisers undermines the credibility of this office and weakens the public’s trust of its investigatory findings.
Mr. Meyer’s participation at a Clinton County Republican fundraiser comes on the heels of a separate report highlighting the lack of meaningful investigations by his office. At a time when people on both sides of the aisle are raising questions about the potential for corruption and misconduct by lobbyists and special interests, we believe the role of the Ohio Inspector General has never been more important.
Current law allows the Governor to appoint his own Inspector General. You selected Mr. Meyer, who is a registered Republican and former employee of Lt. Governor Mary Taylor. You’ll note that we did not raise these concerns about Mr. Meyer’s partisan leanings when his appointment was announced last year.
However, there is growing concern that Mr. Meyer’s partisanship is impairing his ability to objectively investigate potential wrongdoing in state government. We have heard from a number of individuals who have raised the following concerns:
- As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Meyer has only conducted 12 investigative reports, the fewest from the Inspector General’s office since 2007.
- An investigation was requested regarding a possible conflict of interest between Ohio Superintendent Stan Heffner and one of the nation’s largest education testing companies and nothing has been done.
- Instead of focusing on wrongdoing in state government, Mr. Meyer has targeted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by placing a link on his office’s homepage to encourage complaints about this program.
- Also, a question has arisen about the possibility that a relative of former Republican House Speaker and current chair of the Casino Control Commission Jo Ann Davidson has been employed at the Inspector General’s office. If so, how might that impair the impartiality of potential investigations into the Commission?
The Inspector General is the state’s watchdog and must maintain a reasonable distance from the political activity and interests of those he is charged with potentially investigating. We believe his participation in the most partisan of activities – political fundraising – and other questionable partisan activities warrants immediate action. Lack of action will further weaken the integrity and credibility of the Inspector General’s office and it will reinforce the idea that state government is unaccountable to the people of Ohio.
Ohio House of Representatives