Politics & Policy

Corruption Returns to Ohio

The Ohio Department of Public Safety is the latest to feel the sting of resignations. The Wheeling News-Register has the following editorial:

A culture of corruption seems to have taken over the Ohio Department of Public Safety – the very agency Buckeye State residents rely on to protect them from wrongdoing.

Scandal after scandal has been reported from the agency. Several misdeeds involved attempts to cover up other misbehavior.

Late Wednesday, two Department of Public Safety attorneys were forced out of their jobs. One, Joshua Engel, was the agency’s top lawyer. He was fired, according to public safety Director Thomas Stickrath. The other attorney, Pam Bolton, was allowed to resign.

Engel, with Bolton’s help, has been secretly monitoring e-mail messages sent by agency employees, it was reported. For the past year, he has instructed department technology managers to route copies of the e-mails to him. In particular, Engel wanted to see e-mails sent from employees to the state’s inspector general and newspaper reporters.

Journalists sometimes expose wrongdoing in government. The inspector general’s office has the authority to investigate it.

The Columbus Dispatch explains the history of disgraced former attorney Joshua Engel’s employment. The interesting part about both stories is that Engel was clearly someone with good standing in the Strickland administration — Strickland aides had pushed for his hiring, and he was one of the more favored Democrats in his office. This doesn’t necessarily prove that Engel was being fed instructions from above, but it certainly raises questions about it. Battle ‘10 will continue monitoring this story.

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