Ohio Gov. Taft Reprimanded Over Ethics

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By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS
The Associated Press
Wednesday, December 27, 2006; 9:28 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The state Supreme Court on Wednesday publicly reprimanded Ohio Gov. Bob Taft for his ethics violations in office, a black mark that will stay on his permanent record as an attorney.

Taft, 64, a Republican and great-grandson of President William Howard Taft, pleaded no contest in 2005 to failing to report golf outings and other gifts worth nearly $6,000 during his four-year term. He was fined $4,000. Taft could not seek re-election because of term limits and leaves office in less than two weeks.

The Office of Disciplinary Counsel, an arm of the state Supreme Court, said in April that Taft violated Ohio's code of professional conduct for lawyers, and Taft later signed an agreement admitting the violation.

The justices agreed by a vote of 6-0 with a recommendation from the Board of Commissioners on Grievances and Discipline to issue the public reprimand, which does not prevent Taft from practicing law again but will appear in public law registries. The court could have rejected the recommendation or ordered a stronger punishment.

Taft's law license has been inactive since 2002.

"The governor is pleased that the matter is concluded and that the court recognized his reporting error was nothing more than an oversight," Taft spokesman Mark Rickel said.

___

On the Net:

Ohio Supreme Court: http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/

Taft: http://governor.ohio.gov/


© 2006 The Associated Press

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