Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel has returned $105,000 in campaign contributions that are under investigation by the FBI, which is also checking into donations from the same direct marketing firm in Canton to northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci. The FBI has also been talking to a GOP county chairman about his claims that he was promised a quid pro quo arrangement if he didn’t run for the state central committee in March. That chairman supported Kevin DeWine, who was ousted in April after a long-running dispute with Gov. John Kasich.Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on reactions from both parties.
The FBI probe into the donations to US Senate candidate Josh Mandel and Congressman Jim Renacci doesn’t come at an ideal time for returning Ohio Republican Party chair Bob Bennett. But Bennett says the investigation is focused on the contributors, not the candidates.
BENNETT: “Nobody likes to have investigations going on. But I don’t think it reflects back on the party.”
But Ohio Democratic Party chair Chris Redfern says the GOP knows Benjamin Suarez of Canton, the employer of the donors - and that the party should have been more careful in taking money connected to him.
REDFERN: “The Republican Party and their elected officials, Josh Mandel and Jim Renacci, have let Ohioans down, and they’re going to have to answer for it, whether it’s through the Department of Justice or the FBI.”
The FBI is also talking to a GOP county chairman and ally of former state chair Kevin DeWine, who was ousted in April after a long-running dispute with Gov. John Kasich.