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Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel Asked Again By Ohio Democrats For Staffers' Resumes

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Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel celebrates his victory over Kevin Boyce  in November 2010.
Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel celebrates his victory over Kevin Boyce in November 2010.

Democrats have filed their seventh request for Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to release the resumes of 60 top appointees, a request his office has alternatively denied, refused to answer or released the entire state payroll as an answer.

Ohio Democrats have been pressing Mandel, the Republican nominee running against Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, about the backgrounds of staffers he hired at the state treasurer's office since his 2010 election. Mandel had accused former Treasurer Kevin Boyce, a Democrat, of hiring political cronies during the 2010 race and has come under fire in recent weeks after similar accusations.

"Josh Mandel repeatedly slammed his opponent for alleged cronyism during the campaign and promised to operate his office differently if elected," Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker told HuffPost. "So after his swearing in, we sought to hold him accountable for his own words during his own campaign."

"Now that it's clear he broke his own pledge and surrounded himself with political cronies and friends, Ohioans expect for him to finally come clean by disclosing these resumes," Zucker said.

The Dayton Daily News reported last week that several top Mandel aides had been his campaign staffers. Plus, The Huffington Post reported last week that Mandel had sent his debt management director, Joe Aquilino, to a beginner's course on debt management and municipal finance.

The Democrats' most recent letter to Mandel's office requests resumes for 60 employees and at least one former staffer.

"We've tried several times to make this very specific request and the Treasurer's office has still not provided the appropriate information," Democratic researcher Michael Carrozzo wrote. "Of the 60 names we specifically provided in our request of nearly four months ago, the Treasurer's office only provided information for approximately 12 employees. We've added six names of employees that were hired since we made our last public records request."

The resume requests, initiated in April 2011, have been dismissed on several occasions by Mandel's office. According to a timeline provided by the Democratic Party, several requests did not receive replies from the treasurer's office, while the first one in April 2011 and the second in June received replies several months later. Ohio's public records laws say that state agencies should reply within a "reasonable period of time."

In two replies to Democrats, Mandel's general counsel, Seth Metcalf, denied the first requests, saying they were too broad. In the initial requests, Democrats had asked for documents related to any hire in the state treasurer's office following Mandel's election. (The party's requests this year have requested resumes for specific staffers by name.)

"Each of your requests in ambiguous and overly broad," Metcalf wrote on June 10, 2011, citing a court decision saying that requests must include "sufficient clarity."

"Accordingly, this office is not required to respond to your request because you have failed to identify records with sufficient clarity," Metcalf further wrote. "Notwithstanding your ambiguous and overly broad request, the office has voluntarily enclosed the records that we believe you are seeking." Metcalf said the material he sent included resumes and payroll data.

Democrats said the June 2011 letter did not include any disks with the information and that no disks were received until January of this year.

Metcalf, a college friend of Mandel who is among his most powerful aides, is one of the people Democrats are seeking information about. Others include Aquilino; Dana Wasserman, Mandel's deputy debt management director; and Seth Unger, the treasurer's office spokesman.

In January, Mandel's office provided 18 disks to the Democratic Party saying they included the information requested. Zucker said the 41,000 pages of documents included only 12 resumes but carried the payroll information for every employee in Ohio, which is published on a state website.

When asked for comment, Unger referenced the Dayton Daily News story from Tuesday about the Democrats' requests, which cited Metcalf's letters.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated; an earlier version incorrectly referred to a June 2011 letter from the general counsel, Seth Metcalf, as having been sent by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel.

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