August 31, 2005

Bob Taft Should Resign (Strike Two)

Filed under: General,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:31 pm

STRIKE ONE: The ethics convictions–Original Resignation Post from August 18.
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From the Toledo Blade, regarding the state’s failed investments with Tom Noe (HT: the R-Rated Whistleblower, who wonders why we only see prominent information about this in a Toledo newspaper; bolds are mine):

COLUMBUS – At a 2004 roast of Tom Noe, Gov. Bob Taft talked about rare coins and giving money to the Toledo-area coin dealer, but he did not make a direct reference to the $50 million rare-coin investment that now, a year later, has enveloped his administration in scandal.

Mr. Noe’s penchant for fine wine was so well-known it was an opening joke in Mr. Taft’s roast of him, a speech delivered with razzes about golf, Mr. Noe’s waistline, his status as a college dropout, and his “100-room mansion in the Florida Keys.”

The August, 2004, speech includes oblique references to rare coins and money but not a direct reference to the state’s failed investments with Mr. Noe, something the governor insists he did not know about until it was reported in The Blade on April 3, 2005.

Legislators have said that if Mr. Taft – who was convicted earlier this month of ethics violations connected to the scandal – is not being truthful, they would call for his impeachment.

William Wilkinson, lawyer for Mr. Noe, said the governor knew about the coin investment from a May, 2001, conversation he had with Mr. Noe. Mr. Wilkinson allowed that Mr. Taft might have forgotten.

The lawyer said yesterday that the statements in the roast “were consistent with the proposition that he knew.”

“I think there is a limit to how much that is going on around you that you can be oblivious to,” he said.

So what did Bob Taft really know about Noe and when did he know it?

Answer: Obviously more than he claimed to know about Noe back on April 3.

Mr. Taft should resign. Not that I personally give a rip about timing, but Mr. Taft might consider that with all eyes focused on the hurricane damage, a resignation, while it certainly won’t be ignored, won’t get anywhere near the attention it would have two weeks ago, or probably two weeks from now.

If Mr. Taft won’t resign, the above information, which appears irrefutable, should be enough to convince the Ohio House to follow through on the promise noted in the article, get off their butts, and impeach him.

The Governor’s spokesman has said that Mr. Taft is not “governed by polls,” which currently show a narrow plurality saying he should resign (HT Viking Spirit). Nothing wrong with that; he should instead be governed by what’s left of his conscience, and get out.

UPDATE: Though I never sent a letter (maybe I did send an e-mail), I received this form letter from Mr. Taft dated September 1:

Thank you for your letter expressing your concern about my failure to file complete financial disclosure statements with the Ohio Ethics Commission. I have accepted full responsibility for these errors and I am very disappointed in myself that in this instance I did not live up to the high standards that I have set for public employees in the State of Ohio.

I hope you will understand that my mistake, though serious, was not an intentional one. Upon becoming aware that my forms were imcomplete, I took the initiative to notify the Ohio Ethics Commission, pledged my full cooperation, and provided all the information to assist the Commission in bringing its investigation to a conclusion.

I have fully disclosed, reimbursed the appropriate individuals for the cost, paid my fine, and made a public apology to the people of Ohio.

I hope you will accept my sincere and heartfelt apology. It is now time to move forward and continue to do the job that the people of Ohio elected me to do — working to build school buildings and improve our schools, creating more jobs with the help of our tax reform plan which reduces state income and sales taxes, and moving Ohio ahead in every possible way.

Sincerely,
Bob Taft
Governor

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