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Thursday, January 24, 2008

OH-02 Republican Phil Heimlich: Suckers, I'm Not Refunding Donations

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Phil Heimlich's campaign for the Oh-02 Republican nomination is pffffft!!!! He raised nearly $350,000 and he's not giving the unspent cash back to donors now that he's cut and run from U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt. Heimlich plans to keep the left over for "future" opportunities. Some think that smells like a deal -- he bails and Schmidt and the GOP establishment give him an appointment to an office in Hamilton County somewhere down the road.

Howard Wilkinson gets Heimlich on the record about keeping the money:

"Heimlich has put together a formidable campaign organization, complete with a slick campaign Web site. Through last fall, he had raised more money than Schmidt. He said Wednesday that his campaign had raised about $350,000. Some of that money, Heimlich said, would be used to pay campaign staff and outstanding bills. The rest, he said, he would keep in his campaign account 'for opportunities that come up in future years.'"

Heimlich's slick campaign Web site was still up and running more than 24 hours after he quit the race. And at the moment he's still seeking campaign contributions. Inquiring minds are wondering: Wouldn't an ethical politician have shut down the donor page immediately upon ending his campaign?

Federal Election Commission campaign finance reports are due at the end of the month and will become public. Then, everyone can see how much Heimlich raised, how much he spent, and how much he kept.


  1. Bill- How long can a former candidate hold on to his election funds? Can he hold them perpetually, or is there a time limit after which he has to give them to the party or a charity? Just wondering. It seems sleazy to collect interest on hundreds of thousands of dollars for years with no particular prospects for another campaign.

  2. Anon --

    I have tried to find an answer to your question. It looks like there is no time limit as long as the committee is not terminated. But I'm not sure after reading through way too much FEC literature etc. The leftovers can go to a state, local or national party in toto it seems. They can go in $1,000 increments to other federal campaigns. They can be transferred to a state committee, if state law allows. The money cannot be used for personal expenses.

  3. Any donations earmarked for the General Election must be returned.