Gov. John Kasich's bid for the Republican presidential nomination already appears to have cost Ohio taxpayers $1 million.

The governor has refused to release the cost of security and transportation, among other items, citing exemptions to Ohio public records laws. Hence, taxpayers cannot learn the expenses incurred by the Ohio Department of Public Safety in protecting and providing transportation for Kasich and his family while Ohio's first family campaigns out of state.

The following is a breakdown of the $1 million that the Kasich campaign apparently has cost Ohioans so far:

First, there is the cost of Kasich's salary and benefits while he is campaigning out of state and not doing the state's business he was elected twice to do.

In round numbers, his annual salary is $150,000 with another $50,000 in fringe benefits and retirement contributions. That's $200,000. Kasich was campaigning for president out of state about half the time during 2015.

Mark the cost to Ohio taxpayers as $100,000.

Second, there is the cost of security details for Kasich and his family, provided by the Ohio Highway Patrol. Troopers' annual average salary is around $50,000 with $20,000 in benefits. That's $70,000 a year. With Kasich gone half the year, it costs the taxpayers about $35,000 per trooper. Let us estimate that 10 troopers are employed full-time each week $35,000 for half a year's salary.

Mark the projected outlay for troopers by Ohio taxpayers at $350,000.

Third, there are the salary and benefits of transportation workers and other travel staffers, that are also kept keep secret. Let us estimate there are 10 persons involved here making 70-75 percent of what the troopers are being paid.

Mark the projected outlay for travel personnel by Ohio taxpayers at $250,000.

Fourth, we have the cost of buying tickets and the operating costs of planes, trains, buses (like the luxury bus Kasich campaigns in) and autos, and the cost of meals and motel expenses for the 20 or more security and travel personnel who accompany Kasich. 20 rooms at a motel at $100 per room equals $2,000 times 150 nights equals $300,000. Twenty $500 plane tickets times 10 flights equals $100,000. Feeding 20 people at $50 a day equals $1,000 times, say 100 days, equals $100,000.


Mark this outlay covered by taxpayers at $500,000.


Fifth, the money spent on office expenses and staff for Kasich while he is away would dent the taxpayers further.


Mark the office outlay at another $100,000.


In summary, Ohio taxpayers' dollars being spent by Kasich in his presidential quest already total more than $1 million.


If Kasich gets the nomination for president, or vice president, an additional $1 million of Ohio taxpayers' money probably will be consumed.


At some future date, Kasich might elect to lift the veil of secrecy and reveal the extent of taxpayers' spending on his behalf. And he might use campaign funds to reimburse the Ohio treasury.


In the meantime, it has the effect of a $1 million interest-free loan from the Ohio taxpayers.

Sweetheart coverage for governor

Columbus Dispatch political reporter Darrel Rowland some days acts like a press agent for Kasich's campaign.


Rowland stated in his Jan. 24 column: “Journalists don't make political contributions.”


But Rowland's “contributions” might as well be monetary because he cannot bring himself to report the $1 million hit Ohio taxpayers are taking from its absentee governor's presidential campaign (see above).


Recently Rowland fell for Kasich's self-proclaiming that he is the “prince and light of hope.” Hardly a way to describe a governor who tried to do in working people in Ohio in his first year in office. It is more accurate to dub Kasich the “Prince of BS.”


Rowland trumpets when Kasich was up on the New Hampshire polls (20 percent by a dubious poll) and downplays it when the reputable CNN poll puts Kasich at a mere 6 percent.


The Dispatch reporter acts like he's covering Ohio State's football team, that most folks in the state support, rather than a prickly controversial partisan governor whose detractors in the state nearly outnumber his supporters and who trails Donald Trump in Ohio Presidential polling.


Rowland appears to be emulating his predecessor Joe Hallett, who played favorites and appeared to run political errands for the Wolfe family, who then owned the Dispatch.


Hey Darrel, the paper has new owners and they want an even-handed approach. You are not working for the Wolfes anymore.

Controversies swirl in Columbus, Franklin County


New Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther has been a whirlwind of activity since he took office with PR event after PR event, including calls for tougher ethics regulations, but the investigations of his actions as a City Councilman continue unabated.


The Ohio Ethics Commission has added an investigation of Ginther and Council colleagues for funneling money to non-profits that employed some of them. The commission already is looking into the trip to the OSU title game that convicted Redflex lobbyist John Raphael provided to Ginther and others. And the Redflex investigation by the feds is far from closed.


Meanwhile, the Franklin County Democratic Party is trying to defeat three incumbent officeholders who dared to oppose the party-endorsed Ginther for mayor last year.


Sheriff Zach Scott, who lost to Ginther, Commissioner Paula Brooks and Recorder TJ Brown are being challenged by hand-picked party-backed candidates in the March 15 primary.


The media will have a field day with this bloodbath. The hopes of the Ohio Democratic Party electing Ted Strickland to the U.S. Senate and of keeping the Presidency will be dimmed if the animosity carries over to the general election.

OSU rip-off no. 2 in prospect

We all remember a few years when the Ohio State University sold off to private industry the parking lots paid for by Ohio taxpayers and stuck its employees, students and visitors with ever escalating rates.


Now OSU wants to sell off to private industry the energy managing rights of facilities paid for by taxpayers. Does anybody doubt that the outcome will be higher rates that the employees, students and visitors who use the buildings, not to mention less heat when it is cold and less cool air when it is hot?


Would the Columbus news media look into both matters? Please.


Please send your thoughts and suggestions for future columns to


(ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2016, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)


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