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Published: Saturday, 1/21/2012

Kasich mum to watchdog's critics


COLUMBUS -- Gov. John Kasich on Friday declined to comment on his appointed state watchdog's involvement in a $100-a-person Clinton County Republican fund-raiser, a move that has drawn criticism and some demands for the watchdog's resignation.

Inspector General Randy Meyer, whose mission is to investigate alleged misconduct and waste in state government, spoke about integrity in government at the event in his home county in southwest Ohio and has said he welcomes any opportunity to talk about that subject.

"He's an independent overseer of our operations, and I just don't have any comment on him," Mr. Kasich said at a news conference. "He's got to do his job, and I've got nothing else to add."

Mr. Meyer previously worked for state auditor Mary Taylor, a Republican now Mr. Kasich's lieutenant governor, before Mr. Kasich appointed him to the investigatory post.

House Minority Leader Armond Budish (D., Beachwood) and Senate Minority Leader Capri Cafaro (D., Hubbard) have called on Mr. Kasich in a letter to take action.

"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," they wrote. "We believe his participation in the most partisan of activities -- political fund-raising -- 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."

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