This morning the Ohio Inspector General released his report on Troopergate.
One thing is clear – Governor Strickland must fire Department of Public Safety Director Cathy Collins-Taylor.
But he won’t. And why? Because Cathy Collins-Taylor is the wife of Mike Taylor, a major power player in the Fraternal Order of Police. And if Strickland throws Collins-Taylor under the bus, Taylor will surely do whatever it takes to make sure Strickland doesn’t get the FOP endorsement he so desperately wants.
That said, pressure must be exerted on Strickland to fire Collins-Taylor.
As you’ll see if you read the entire report, and in several lowlights below, Collins-Taylor was responsible for a “cover-up” and is guilty of lying to the Inspector General. Additionally, she went against the spirit of the law in failing to cooperate with the Inspector General.
Pages 21 & 22
Collins-Taylor would not even concede that the phrase “embarrassment to the boss” referred to Governor Strickland. She insisted that she was referring to “the embarrassment to the administration in general – to the Patrol, to DRC, to DAS. The fact somebody could throw something over the fence at the Governor’s office [sic], that’s all . . . an embarrassment to the administration, to all of us.” In her view, Collins-Taylor told us, “I look at the administration and the Governor are [sic] the same thing.”
These statements are absurd. Use of the past tense describes actions that have occurred, and “the boss” is a person, not a collective noun.
Political considerations unquestionably factored into the decision to cancel the original conveyance operation. Had Collins-Taylor, Dicken, Mannion and others simply admitted this from the beginning – that conducting a minor drug interdiction outside the fence of the Governor‟s Residence might be politically embarrassing to the First Family and might reflect poorly on an inmate program to which they were deeply committed – our office would not have “wasted” all of the time and money that Mannion decries. Instead, Mannion, Collins-Taylor, Dicken and others participated in a cover-up that has tarnished their reputations and the reputations of DPS and the Patrol.
In the course of this investigation, we issued four subpoenas to Collins-Taylor. In its response to these subpoenas, DPS’ Legal Department went to extraordinary lengths to impede our ability to obtain records and to intentionally deliver thousands of pages of non-responsive records to this office.
Ohio law requires state agencies and employees to “cooperate with, and provide assistance to, the inspector general and any deputy inspector general in the performance of any investigation. The law further requires each state agency to “make its premises, equipment, personnel, books, records, and papers readily available to the inspector general or a deputy inspector general” and permits those agents to “enter upon the premises of any state agency at any time, without prior announcement, if necessary to the successful completion of an investigation.”
And while the IG did not find any evidence that Markus was guilty, there are a plenty of interesting statements in the report that definitely imply Markus was heavily involved in making the politically motivated decision to interfere…
Although Collins-Taylor and Dicken insisted that it was Dicken who made the decision to cancel the conveyance operation, documents and interviews demonstrate that the decision was made following high-level discussions between Collins-Taylor, Mannion, Collins, McCann, Markus, and John Haseley, the Governor‟s Chief of Staff…
We also examined whether members of the Governor‟s staff – principally Markus and Haseley – called the operation off or pressured Collins-Taylor to cancel it. We found no evidence that they did, although it is clear that Collins-Taylor reached her decision following several consultations with Markus and after Haseley had several discussions with Mannion and top DRC officials.
During a conference call on January 8, 2010, between Markus, Haseley and Mannion in which Mannion told the Governor‟s representatives that he thought the operation was a bad idea, Markus said he told Mannion: “Look, we do not want to get in the middle of this conversation,” adding “obviously, if you have concerns about things, you need to communicate your concerns . . . to the people you report to, to the people that are involved in this, but we‟re not going to get in the middle of this.”
Above, Markus says it wasn’t him that had concerns. But if that’s the case, why did Collins-Taylor send this e-mail to Markus?…
Shown an email (Exhibit 19) that she sent to Kent Markus, the Counselor to the Governor, at 9:42 a.m. on Saturday in which she wrote that she has had “many conversations and are scaling any planned operations back” and told Markus “your cause for concern was right on”…
Markus must have expressed some concern in a phone call to her.
Ultimately, this reeks of abuse of the office to which these people were appointed to serve.
At the very least, Strickland must demand Collins-Taylor step down.