A car crash involving the state treasurer that was kept quiet until now is raising questions about campaign finance laws and his transportation. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports.
The crash involving Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel happened in March of this year in Toledo, according to documents obtained by the Associated Press. The vehicle he was riding in was a 2004 Jeep Cherokee owned by his Senate campaign, even though by March, the Senate campaign had been over four months.
A spokesperson says the treasurer’s re-election campaign was renting the Jeep from the Senate campaign, but the AP reports that records show the rental check came after Mandel had used the Jeep for months and after the March crash.
Catherine Turcer is with Common Cause.“Bad record keeping is a significant problem when it comes to campaign reports," she says, "and we as voters need to have really good, specific information, and especially we want to have good record keeping from a treasurer or somebody who’s running for treasurer.”
A delay in that rental payment could mean state and/or federal campaign finance law violations, because Senate campaign property can’t be used for personal use or to campaign for a different office.
Mandel’s campaign spokesperson says in an e-mailed statement that the treasurer’s re-election campaign paid the Senate campaign in June for the rental for January and February and for the five days in March before the crash, in which the Jeep was totaled – and that those payments were within the appropriate timeline.
The spokesperson adds that campaign finance experts say the rental agreement is legal, and that the treasurer doesn’t use state-paid transportation when traveling. The spokesperson adds, quote: “Treasurer Mandel is saving Ohioans thousands of dollars by not using a penny of taxpayer money. This is yet another example of Josh Mandel walking the walk as a fiscal conservative and leader with integrity.”