Julie Carr Smyth

COLUMBUS: Ohio’s treasurer is accusing the governor of killing a signature bill in 2014 that would have assured the future of his online database of government spending.

The clash over Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel’s online checkbook initiative marks the latest turn in the tense relationship between Mandel and Republican Gov. John Kasich, the former presidential candidate.

Over the years, Mandel has spoken out against Kasich’s proposal to tax big oil and gas drillers and the governor’s decision to expand the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor. The latter option was made available under the federal health care law unpopular with so many Republicans.

Mandel, a former and likely future U.S. Senate candidate, also backed a different White House contender this year. He supported and cast a vote for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio while all of Ohio’s other GOP statewide officials supported Kasich.

The plot between the two men thickens with the saga of online checkbook legislation.

In remarks to the Ohio Association of Realtors last month, Mandel described pushing a bill to require the treasurer’s office to maintain an ongoing government spending database.

“I thought this bill would pass pretty quickly,” Mandel told the group in video obtained by the Associated Press. “It’s sort of like baseball, motherhood, apple pie. Who’s against government transparency?”

But Mandel recounted, Kasich’s office came to him and said they didn’t like House Bill 175. “And they killed it. We couldn’t get this thing passed,” he said.

Kasich spokesman Joe Andrews said in an email the governor supports Mandel’s site for reporting local spending data, but more thorough state spending information was already available.

“Transparency is important to us and that’s why we feel that the most accurate, complete and comprehensive state government financial data comes from the Office of Budget and Management who has day-to-day responsibility for managing the state budget and accounting system,” he said.