Columbus — The Ohio Supreme Court has denied a liberal blogger’s request for records disclosing threats against Gov. John Kasich, saying the documents are not open to public perusal.
Plunderbund Media (www.plunderbund.com) filed suit after the Ohio Department of Public Safety declined to provide the documents, saying they were “security records.”
In a unanimous decision Aug. 27, justices agreed.
“The director of public safety does not have a clear legal duty to produce the requested records to Plunderbund, and Plunderbund lacks a clear legal right to those documents,” justices wrote.
Plunderbund co-owner Joseph Mismas originally sought the records in August 2012, seeking information related to threats made against the governor and related highway patrol investigations.
Mismas specifically sought records that disclosed “the type of threat and whether it was credible or resulted in charges …,” according to documents. Plunderbund “wanted information only on closed investigations,” which, it argued, would not be considered a security record.
But state officials countered that the records sought contained information outlining the governor’s security detail, and the Department of Public Safety was not required to provide copies.
Justices agreed, noting, “The records at issue involve direct threats against the highest official in the executive branch of Ohio government. Information included in these threats, according to the affidavits provided, is used for protecting and maintaining the security of the governor and his staff and family and for maintaining the secure functioning of the governor’s office. The records are therefore ‘security records’ and exempt from disclosure as a public records …”
Plunderbund wasn’t the only group seeking security records from public officials. The Ohio Republican Party filed suit to force Cuyahoga County Executive and Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Ed FitzGerald to release records outlining his keycard usage, showing when he was in or out of his office.
That suit is pending.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.