It used to be called "framing." Now it's called "positioning." Whatever you call it, Aaron Marshall of THE PLAIN DEALER did it, big time, when he wrote that the Ohio General Assembly's challenge of Governor Strickland's veto of Substitute Senate Bill 117 is going to cost taxpayers at least $150,000.
See, both the House and the Senate budgeted $75,000 each to compensate their independent counsel Columbus law firm Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. Because of the GA's conflict with the state's attorney general's office they requested and were granted the right to select their own legal representation. Oddly, Marshall further kvetches about Vorys' $160 per hour fee. That's chump change for legal fees.
Let's reframe the issue: Wasn't it really Governor Strickland who triggered this expenditure when he vetoed a bill that had already become law? The GA's challenge has two grounds:
- The ten-day window in which the bill could or would not become law. It was the office of the new OH Attorney General Marc Dann which advised the new administration that it was within the window and could impose a veto. Interestingly, Dann has since blinked.
- The fact that the new Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner returned the bill, which former Governor Bob Taft allowed to become law by not vetoing it, to the new governor. That bill had been certified by the previous Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.
If the challenge succeeds and the Strickland veto is declared by the OH Supreme Court as unconstitutional (Article 2, Section 16), then this expenditure could be framed or positioned as an early unnecessary expense incurred by the new Strickland Administration. Let THE PLAIN DEALER reporters et al. then kvetch about the real spendthrifts.