Governor John Kasich will give up more than $22,000 in donations from a business person accused of illegally funneling campaign money.
On Thursday, a Kasich official told Northeast Ohio Media Group that a check for $22,395.56 was being cut to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio.
The announcement followed a call from Democratic gubernatorial challenger Ed FitzGerald to send Benjamin Suarez’s contributions to charity.
A grand jury has indicted Suarez on nine counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws. The charges revolve around contributions to the 2012 Senate campaign of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel and 2010 re-election campaign of U.S. Representative Jim Renacci. Both returned the scrutinized donations from Suarez employees.
Suarez skirted campaign contribution limits by reimbursing employees for donations made in their names.
Suarez also contributed $2,500 to Mandel’s campaign for state treasurer in 2009 and $11,300 in 2010. He also gave $5,000 to Republican Jon Husted’s successful bid for secretary of state in 2010 and $11,345 to Republican Dave Yost‘s successful campaign for state auditor in 2010.
State Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus), who intends to challenge Yost next year, believes the auditor should follow Kasich’s lead. Carney campaign manager Brendan Kelley called on Yost to “contribute the tainted money to charity.”
Yost responded via email later Thursday. “This contribution was made years ago and was entirely proper,” Yost said. “However — recalling Caesar’s rationale for divorcing his second wife — our campaign will donate an equal amount to a charity that provides scholarships to the children of veterans.”