From The Columbus Dispatch

A good-government group has handed fresh ammo to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in his battle to place the state’s checkbook online.

Ohio’s online efforts to disclose details about state spending merited a lowly “D-minus,” the fifth-worst showing in the nation, in an annual study released today by U.S. PIRG.

The state was better last year, but not by much, with a grade of “D-plus” — 10th worst in the U.S.

The group downgraded Ohio for faults with its transparency website that include limited search capabilities and an inability to download data to sort and massage the numbers behind state spending.

And, we would note that even the Department of Administrative Service’s state salary data is user – and taxpayer — unfriendly. It is available only as an 864-page PDF rather than a database that can be downloaded and crunched to yield useful information. (Salary data can be downloaded from Mandel’s website, but it has not been updated since 2012.)

Mandel is lobbying lawmakers to pass House Bill 175, introduced last year by State Rep. Mike Dovilla, R-Berea, to put all state expenditures online.

“Every check the state writes, from $1.80 for a pack of pencils to $8 million for an ODOT (Ohio Department of Transportation) contract and everything in between, will be there, ” Mandel said this week. “I want to create an army of citizen auditors who can hold politicians and bureaucrats accountable for government spending.”

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