POLITICS

Josh Mandel, Ohio Senate Candidate, Endorses Freedom Of Information Laws

08/14/2012 02:04 pm ET | Updated Aug 14, 2012

The Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio is being criticized for his support of the federal Freedom of Information Act, following a series of delays by his state office in responding to records requests.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Tea Party favorite challenging Sen. Sherrod Brown (D), told the Sandusky Register that he favors FOIA laws. However, the treasurer's office received nine repeated requests by the Ohio Democratic Party to release the resumes of Mandel appointees before supplying the information. It has since gotten nine new requests from the party for copies of Mandel's state schedule, which it hasn't responded to, according to the party.

The Sandusky Register reports:

I want to learn more about it. It does concern me, and I think it’s important for federal agencies to comply with the Freedom of Information act. First and foremost, we want to keep citizens and America safe. Under that umbrella of safety and security, we need to have common sense disclosure and access to public records.

State Democrats are criticizing Mandel for what they deemed a "hypocrisy alert." Its requests for resumes stretched over a one-year period. Mandel's office responded with denials, the release of the state payroll and saying the office did not have the resumes, before sending them to Democrats earlier this year.

The resume requests came amid reports that Mandel had given state jobs to friends and political aides, including one who was sent to a beginner's class in the area he was overseeing.

Last month, Mandel told the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce that he would work in the Senate to promote transparency in government, another move criticized by state Democrats at the time.

The Brown/Mandel race is one of the most competitive Senate races nationally with conservative groups, which have committed $10.5 million to back Mandel, and liberal groups, which have spent $2.5 million to help Brown.

State Democratic Party spokesman Andrew Zucker said the party is now seeking Mandel's official schedule. In nine requests since June to Mandel's general counsel, Seth Metcalf, the party has asked for the schedule along with visitor logs for the office. Democrats have long criticized Mandel's job performance, including reports that he skipped 14 months of state Board of Deposit meetings, along with attending fundraisers in Washington and the Bahamas. Zucker said the party has not gotten a response from Metcalf.

“In addition to peddling debunked falsehoods and hiring unqualified campaign workers and friends in the treasurer's office, Josh Mandel has shaped his reputation as a politician who can't be trusted by blowing off work for campaign fundraisers and political events," Zucker said. "Ohioans deserve to know just how little time their absentee treasurer spends in the office they elected him to.”

Mandel campaign spokesman Travis Considine and treasurer's office spokesman Seth Unger did not return messages left for comment.

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