The Ohio inspector general’s office failed to perform legally required duties in preparing its recently released but long-overdue report on the Coingate scandal at the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
State law says that if the inspector general finds mismanagement in state government, the report shall identify who did it. Instead of being about mismanagement, the Coingate report is a compilation of criminal matters, legislative reforms, and changes to the bureau’s operations.
Mismanagement by state officials was undoubtedly a cause of Coingate. The report notes that “gaps in oversight” led to “the widespread corruption.” And it lists the recommendations from three outside studies that found numerous management deficiencies regarding the scandal
One study was the state auditor’s 2005 special audit. It said bureau officials violated the agency’s policies by investing $50 million with Republican fundraiser Tom Noe, who stole millions of it and laundered campaign contributions to Republican candidates. The audit also found that bureau officials bypassed normal contract processing for Noe and failed to check on investments.
As the central figure in the scandal, Noe may have been able to provide useful information on why state officials were so willing to act improperly to accommodate him. But the inspector general’s office never interviewed him.
Because the Republic inspector general gave a pass to Republican state officials responsible for serious mismanagement, the public still doesn’t know what caused one of the biggest scandals in the state’s government’s history.
Joseph C. Sommer
Attorney at Law