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Published: Tuesday, 6/26/2012 - Updated: 3 years ago

Ohio Democrat seeks GOP communiques

Florida link in Romney effort suspected


Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern on Monday requested documents to find out whether there was political coordination between the Republican governors of Florida and Ohio to help the Mitt Romney campaign for president.

The broad records request seeks copies of all communication, if any, between Gov. John Kasich's office and the Mitt Romney campaign, as well as a large number of Republican organizations and operatives.

A Kasich spokesman labeled the request silly and noted that Ohio and Florida are linked as plaintiffs in the lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act national health care law, also known as Obamacare.

On Friday, the Miami Herald newspaper published the text of an email from Florida Gov. Rick Scott's press secretary, Lane Wright, to Mr. Kasich's press secretary, Rob Nichols, on the ruling, expected to be announced Thursday.

Mr. Redfern said the emails between the two offices appear to be for political purposes, to help the presumptive Republican nominee, Mr. Romney, at the expense of Ohio taxpayers.

In his letter to Governor Kasich's legal office, Mr. Redfern said he asked for the documentation "to better understand the level of involvement he has allowed Mitt Romney and other partisans to hold in the Ohio governor's office. It is my hope that in the interest of dispelling the appearance of these improprieties, he will satisfy this request quickly."

Ohio is one of 25 states that joined Florida's lawsuit seeking to strike down the health-care law's mandate that all individuals obtain health insurance.

In his email to Mr. Nichols, Mr. Wright said that if the court overturns the health-care law, Governor Scott will focus on the cost of the health-care law and a lost opportunity to recover from the recession. It says that President Obama "wasted resources, time, and energy trying to implement a massive social program that injected nothing but uncertainty and doubt" and "squandered any chance of fixing our economy."

The email alludes to an earlier conversation between Mr. Wright and Mr. Nichols on the upcoming Obamacare ruling, but doesn't indicate what Mr. Nichols said in the early discussion.

Last week, it was reported that Mr. Romney's presidential campaign asked the Florida governor to tone down his statements heralding improvements in Florida's economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee's message that the nation is suffering under President Obama.

Mr. Scott’s office denied the report.

“No one from Romney’s campaign contacted us and asked us to tone down the message,” Mr. Wright said.

Governor Kasich is wrestling with a similar situation because of the state's promising economic numbers at a time when Mr. Romney is trying to make the case that Mr. Obama bungled the recovery.

Mr. Nichols labeled the public information request "typical silly politics from Chris Redfern" that "come[s] close to admitting what everyone else already knows — that Obamacare is very problematic for Ohio and poses $27 billion in additional Medicaid costs to our state over the next six years."

"He also seems to have forgotten that Ohio is a plaintiff in the lawsuit seeking to overturn Obamacare. Had he remembered, he would have understood our interest in following the court proceedings and our anticipation of the court's decision on Thursday," Mr. Nichols said.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.

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