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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
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Published: Tuesday, 7/1/2014 - Updated: 3 months ago

Ohio Democrats cite 'culture of corruption' in Ohio Republican Party

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

A day after a generous Republican donor was convicted of an obstruction of justice charge but acquitted of making illegal campaign contributions, the head of the Ohio Democratic Party attacked what he called a “culture of corruption” in the Ohio Republican Party.

Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who is also a state representative from Catawba Island, said the jury trial of North Canton businessman Ben Suarez revealed troubling behavior by Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel and Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Republicans called the attack “mindless” and “desperate.”

“Josh Mandel used his official office to benefit a donor to his failed [2012] Senate campaign and then that donor took steps to cover up his assistance,” Mr. Redfern said. “It’s just another example among many of how Mandel has repeatedly failed to tell the truth and used the office for his own political gain.”

Mr. Mandel‘‍s spokesman did not respond to an email and phone message seeking comment.

Suarez was convicted by a federal jury on Monday of one count related to tampering with a witness but was acquitted on six more serious charges of making illegal campaign contributions. The owner of a mail-order business, he was accused of funneling $200,000 in contributions to the federal campaigns of Republicans U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (R., Wadsworth) and Mr. Mandel for the 2012 election through his employees.

Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris Schrimpf said, “It is awfully early in the campaign season for [Mr. Redfern] to be spewing such desperate conspiracy theories.”

Contact Tom Troy: tomtroy@theblade.com or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.



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