Ohio Gov. Releases Weekly Reports Related to Workers’ Comp

July 22, 2005

Ohio Gov. Bob Taft recently reversed course and agreed to release weekly reports from top officials at the embattled state insurance fund for injured workers, according to the Associated Press.

Releasing the reports from January 1999 through August of last year is in the public’s interest because of ongoing scrutiny of the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation’s investment policies, Taft said in a letter to state Sen. Marc Dann.

Dann, a Youngstown Democrat, sued to force Taft to release weekly memos between the governor’s office and the bureau from 1998 to 2004.

Taft, a Republican, had argued the reports were not covered by the state’s open records act because they often contain sensitive material regarding employees, strategy for passing bills and prospects for economic development.

But Taft decided to release the documents because of revelations about the bureau’s internal scrutiny of investments, said spokesman Mark Rickel. A consultant reviewing the bureau’s investment policy said the bureau can’t be certain of the exact amount of its $14 billion portfolio.

Taft said he’ll continue to fight to keep other weekly reports private under executive privilege.

“While the Governor’s Office is waiving privilege for these specific documents, this waiver does not extend beyond these reports and should be deemed as a waiver of any other applicable privilege,” said Elizabeth Luper Schuster, Taft’s chief lawyer.

Also, Taft said he would release all financial disclosure documents relating to golf outings taken over several years once an ethics investigation is complete.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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