|Ohio GOP Caught Fudging Finance Reports|
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A Federal Election Commission audit issued late last year -- and unnoticed by almost everyone -- discloses the Ohio Republican Party operated on a tide of red ink. The state GOP did not publicly disclose it owed $1,195,892 to various vendors who "consistently invoiced ORP for the balances due." Stiffing businesses who want their money is a sharp business practice that hardly gibes with the Republican philosophy of supporting Main Street. In other words, the party that claims fealty to fiscal responsibility got caught being unable to control its own spending. And it got caught publishing false reports about its finances. The Daily Bellwether has the entire sequence of the Ohio GOP's audit record available here. An FEC staff report issued seven months ago got the heat turned up by urging action: "The Audit staff recommends that the Commission find that the Ohio Republican Party State Central & Executive Committee failed to disclose debts and obligations for calendar years 2007 and 2008."
|Page From Audit|
Facts and AnalysisConservative writers, such as Jason Hart at Big Government, already have doubts about the Ohio Republican Party under Chairman Kevin DeWine. They are supporting Gov. John Kasich's efforts to push DeWine out of the party's top job. Hart and the others don't know about the state GOP's inaccurate financial filings. They are, however, concerned about 2010 spending reports showing the ORP plowed more money into contests for attorner general and secretary of state than it did on the governor's contest. These are the numbers Hart has cited:
Disclosure reports filed by ORP during the audit period did not disclose any debts owed.
Although ORP paid the majority of invoices timely, it carried outstanding balances with
five vendors that were not disclosed as debts. During audit fieldwork, a review of vendor
invoices and computer files identified debts totaline $1,195,892 that should have been
disclosed on Schedules D (Debts and Obligations). The vendors consistently invoiced
ORP for the balances due. Some of the undisclosed debts were outstanding prior to the
beginning of the audit period.
B. Interim Audit Report & Audit Division Recommendation
The Audit staff mformed ORP representatives of this matter at the exit conference and
provided schedules detailing the undisclosed debts for each reporting period for the
audited cycle. ORP representatives indicated that amended reports would be filed.
- $753,680 spent in the incredibly close Kasich-Strickland race
- $1.3 million spent in the secretary of state race, for DeWine ally Jon Husted – including $375,245 in the GOP primary
- $1.5 million spent in the attorney general race, for Kevin DeWine’s cousin Mike DeWine
Hart says the Ohio Republican Party was scandal-plagued in 2006 (remember Coingate at the end of the Bob Taft era). Hart thinks President Obama and Sen. Sherrod Brown benefit if there are similar mistakes involving funds and fundraising. Today's revelation of the FEC's audits showing that may open that door.