Prosecutor: Ohio governor to be charged with 4 misdemeanors
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Gov. Bob Taft, under
investigation for not reporting numerous golf outings as required by ethics law,
will be charged with four misdemeanors, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
Taft, a Republican and member of a distinguished U.S. political family, would
be the first Ohio governor to be charged with a crime. If convicted, he could be
fined $1,000 and sentenced to six months in jail on each count, though time
behind bars was considered unlikely.
Taft will be charged later Wednesday, said City Prosecutor Stephen McIntosh,
who declined to comment further pending an afternoon news conference.
Investigators have looked for weeks at Taft's alleged violation of a law
requiring officeholders to report gifts worth more than $75. He had announced
the problems involving reporting of golf outings in June but said any errors
In a speech given in May, he had stressed the importance of ethical behavior
for public employees.
"Public employees can enjoy entertainment, such as golf or dining out, with
persons working for a regulated company, or one doing business with the state,
only if they fully pay their own way," he said in the speech at Xavier
Taft, 63, would be the highest-ranking official to be charged in a ballooning
state investment scandal. His former chief of staff was convicted of an ethics
violation in July.
Taft's great-grandfather was President William Howard Taft -- who later was
chief justice -- and both his father and grandfather were U.S. senators from
Other Ohio governors have come under investigation, including Republican
George Voinovich, investigated for unproven allegations he laundered campaign
money, and Democrat Richard Celeste, whose connections to a contributor who
owned the failed Home State Savings Bank were examined.