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Democrats sue Gov. Kasich to release records

The Ohio Democratic Party filed suit Tuesday against Gov. John Kasich, claiming the governor’s office has refused to fully answer several public records requests.

Party officials requested Kasich’s official schedule six times since July 2 without a satisfactory response, according to the complaint filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. The suit asks the court to force Kasich to turn over all requested information, explain why certain information is redacted and pay the party’s attorney fees and court costs.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said the administration won’t comment on pending legislation and refused to answer questions about the request or information the office provided to the party.

“We release public records in accordance with the law, and in fact have already publicly released the governor’s schedule six times, including a schedule request to the ODP,” Nichols said in a statement. “This is predictable election-year politics from the same people who were just rebuked for using public records demands to interfere with the auditor of State’s investigation into possible data manipulation in some school districts.”

The party requested Kasich’s schedule from June 1 through Aug. 1, 2012.

“Serious questions remain regarding whether the Governor has improperly used his office for the benefit of Mitt Romney, and it’s deeply disappointing Kasich is so secretive he won’t even tell the public what he’s done, or where he’s gone.” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said in a press release.

On July 16, the office provided information from June 1 through July 8, omitting one week of information without explanation. Appointments and meetings were blacked on all but six of the 38 days prvided because “they would reveal confidential business meetings and trade secret information,” according to the office’s response.

The response excluded future events and appointments, claiming the information is protected as “security records” used to protect Kasich from attacks.

“Even if there were a security exemption, it’s hard to imagine a phone call or in-person office meeting would meet that exemption as Ohio law outlines,” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz told the Dayton Daily News.

Nichols said the party has made 44 records requests since June 1 but did not elaborate on the topic of those requests. Kurtz said 26 of those requests stemmed from a previous request deemed “overly broad.”