Nearly half of the Ohio Ethics Commission’s caseload this year dealt with concerns about conflict of interest by public officials, but many of those under scrutiny are exempt from publicly disclosing their personal business interests, a Dayton Daily News investigation found.
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Should public officials disclose their finances?
Reporter Josh Sweigart filled out an ethics disclosure form with his personal financial information, then ran it by the Ohio Ethics Commission for an unofficial OK before posting it to our website, mydaytondailynews.com, to illustrate what kind of information is required on the form.
Notable Ethics Commission cases in 2013
Oct. 25: The Ethics Commission reprimanded a Columbus City School Board member for having a prohibited interest in four contracts awarded to her husband.
Sept. 25: The Ethics Commission warned of the potential for conflicts of interest with members of the JobsOhio board and dozens other of the 85 state boards and commissions whose financial disclosure forms are not made public. The finding directs the agencies to take extra steps to avoid conflicts.
July 11: The Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion saying a fire chief could be paid to teach a class attended by the firefighters he supervises, but he cannot direct them to take the class nor authorize payment of tuition. That must be done by someone above the fire chief. This was an issue in Xenia Twp. in Greene County.
April 12: Three people, including the former treasurer of the Berea School District, were indicted on charges including theft in office, tampering with records, money laundering, forgery and having an unlawful interest in a public contract. Authorities allege the three steered school district money to a health care business they were affiliated with.
Jan. 25: The mayor of Mayfield Heights was charged with violating Ohio ethics laws by filing false financial disclosure forms that did not list $115,000 received by two companies, one of which was operating oil and gas wells in the city.
Jan. 18: The Ethics Commission issued an advisory opinion permitting Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to refinance his home with a bank that does business with the state.