Editor’s Note: See update to this story, which states that Taft’s records were not expunged.
Records of the investigation and court proceedings of the only governor in Ohio history convicted of a crime are now closed to public view — forever.
Gov. Bob Taft’s criminal record has been expunged, meaning that information is now sealed under Ohio law, and any government official who divulges it could face prosecution.
The records of four other defendants caught up in the scandal sparked by investments in rare coins by the state Bureau of Workers’ Compensation also have been expunged, including Douglas Moormann’s, Taft’s executive assistant.
Taft pleaded no contest and was found guilty by a judge in August 2005 of four ethics violations for making false statements on his financial-disclosure statements. He paid $4,000 in fines, $76 in court costs and issued a public apology for not disclosing 52 golf outings, meals, hockey tickets and other gifts worth almost $6,000 from Toledo-area coin dealer Thomas W. Noe and others.
“I don’t really want to talk about it,” Taft said yesterday when asked about the expunging of his criminal record. “It happened a long time ago, obviously.”
The expunging became evident, oddly enough, by what was not contained in last week’s inspector general’s report recounting the scandal. The names of everyone who was prosecuted were included in the report, except for Taft, Moormann and three others. (There was a passing mention of Taft, but not in relation to his criminal case.) Inspector General Randall J. Meyer said the law prevented him from including the involvement of anyone whose record had been sealed.