Is the Ohio Legislature Hiding the Facts?
The people's right to know
By Cyndy Rees
The people's right to know vs. the government - a never ending battle. According to the Ohio Bar Association, "In Ohio, the 'sunshine laws' refer to Ohio's Public Records Act and Ohio's Open Meetings Act. These statutory laws are based on the notion that there should be "openness" in government, with public access to records and meetings and the conduct and activities of government."
Three cheers for daylight!!! Well, not so fast. It seems the Government is determining what a "reasonable time" is for responding to public records requests, blemishing our right to know in a timely manner.
Case in point, the ongoing sexual harassment issues involving the state legislature, and travel inquiries in the House. As previously reported, 3rd Rail has been waiting for House records for 65 days, and 15 days for records requested from the Senate.
Last week 3rd Rail sent another Public Records Request to Speaker Rosenberger seeking information regarding the Speakers correspondences with employees of the Ohio House of Representatives. (See request below.)
The clock is ticking on all of these requests, and we will continue to investigate the plethora of allegations that sources have shared with this news outlet.
November 1, 2017
Speaker Cliff Rosenberger
77 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Re: Public Records Request
Dear Speaker Rosenberger:
I am writing you pursuant to the Ohio Public Records Act, R.C. 149.43, to request copies of the following public records:
· Any and all written correspondence, including emails, sms/text messages, iMessages, other electronic communications, by and between Speaker Rosenberger and any employee of the Ohio House of Representatives (“House Employee”) relating to:
a) invitations from Speaker Rosenberger to any House Employee to eat dinner with the Speaker;
b) actual dinners eaten where Speaker Rosenberger and any House Employee were present simultaneously;
c) invitations to Speaker Rosenberger’s private residence or condominium made by the Speaker to any House Employee;
d) visits to Speaker Rosenberger’s private residence or condominium by any House Employee;
e) invitations from Speaker Rosenberger to any House Employee to watch a movie with the Speaker;
f) visits to a movie theatre or to Speaker Rosenberger’s private residence or condominium in which Speaker Rosenberger was accompanied by any House Employee for purposes of watching a movie;
g) requests from Speaker Rosenberger to any House Employee in which any House Employee was asked to tend to any of the Speaker’s pets, including walking the Speaker’s dog;
h) requests from Speaker Rosenberger to any House Employee in which any House Employee was asked to tend to the Speaker’s laundry, including requests that a House Employee wash, dry, mend, or iron the Speaker’s clothing or retrieve the Speaker’s dry cleaning or laundry from a dry cleaning service;
i) meetings between Speaker Rosenberger and any House Employee occurring at the Speaker’s private residence or condominium between the hours of midnight and 4:30 a.m.;
j) overnight trips, including trips within the State of Ohio, where Speaker Rosenberger requested that any House Employee accompany him;
k) overnight accommodations for any House Employee, regardless of where those accommodations were located, that was paid for by Speaker Rosenberger;
l) overnight accommodations for any House Employee and Speaker Rosenberger, regardless of where those accommodations were located, in which Speaker Rosenberger and the House Employee shared a hotel room.
· Any and all calendar notations, including electronic calendar notations and event invitations sent from Speaker Rosenberger to any House Employee or received by Speaker Rosenberger from any House Employee relating to any of the items described above in (a) through (l).
· Any and all invoices, receipts, reimbursements, or other documentation regarding financial transactions relating to any of the items described above in (a) through (l).
For your reference, attached to this request is a quarterly list of all House Employees for the years Speaker Rosenberger has been a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Responsive records should be limited to those between January 3, 2011 and the date of your response to this request.
Requested records should be provided by email to firstname.lastname@example.org within a reasonable time. Please contact me at this email if it will take more than a week to respond to this request.
If you have any questions or need additional information in order to expedite the release of these requested public records, please do not hesitate to contact me.