Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ohio Gov. John Kasich to send money from indicted businessman Benjamin Suarez to charity

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will give up more than $22,000 in donations from a businessman accused of illegally funneling campaign money to others.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols told Northeast Ohio Media Group on Thursday afternoon that a check for $22,395.56 was being cut to the National Alliance on Mental Illness Ohio.

The announcement followed a call earlier in the day from Democratic gubernatorial challenger Ed FitzGerald to forward Benjamin Suarez's contributions to charity. A federal grand jury has indicted Suarez on nine counts, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government and conspiracy to violate campaign finance laws.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Rob Portman, John Boehner, Sherrod Brown and more: This is American Idol, Ohio politics-style

Live music is now a staple at political events, whether it's Bruce Springsteen stumping for President Barack Obama or Kid Rock for Mitt Romney.

Here are just some of the greatest hits we could remember off the top of our heads. We weren't able to locate audio or video clips a for a few of these, so consider this a call for help. And if you have a clip we might have missed, by all means share away in the comments section.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

Charlie Earl, Ohio's libertarian candidate for governor, saddles up for his 'last rodeo'

Meet Charlie Earl.

The libertarian candidate for governor in 2014, whom conservative Tea-Party types may rally around to spite Republican incumbent John Kasich, is a retired college instructor who also has worked in TV and radio. He lives on a farm north of Bowling Green.

Earl also is a former Republican state representative. He served from 1981 through 1984.

"I look around," Earl said this week in a telephone interview, before rattling off a list of his former General Assembly colleagues. "The governor served with me. The attorney general [Mike DeWine] served with me. Our U.S. senator, Sherrod Brown, served with me. The current speaker of the [Ohio] House of Representatives, Bill Batchelder, served with me.

"And I'm thinking," Earl deadpanned, "in 30 years, things haven't gotten better."

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Could a conservative third-party challenger cause trouble for Ohio Gov. John Kasich in 2014? Analysis

Forgive yourself if the name Scott Rupert fails to ring any bells.

The truck driver from Mechanicsburg was a footnote of last year's closely watched U.S. Senate race in Ohio, pulling 4.6 percent of the vote as an independent candidate.
Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown beat Republican challenger Josh Mandel by 6 percentage points. Though no one can fairly consider the right-leaning but unknown Rupert a spoiler, operatives from both major parties see new relevance in his campaign.

Republican Gov. John Kasich will seek re-election next year, likely without the fervent Tea Party support that helped sweep him into office in 2010. His efforts to expand Medicaid coverage and raise taxes on big oil and gas companies have made political enemies out of this very critical chunk of the GOP base. Democrats are poised to counter with Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive and former mayor of Lakewood.

An election where Tea Party voters stay home or – just as bad for Kasich – show up and cast ballots for a third-party candidate with no chance of winning, could propel FitzGerald to the governor's chair. And that's perfectly fine with the movement's leaders, some of whom see a FitzGerald victory as collateral damage for making a statement.

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Oscar Villarreal, head of scrutinized investment fund, has been a top Republican donor

Oscar Villarreal is a Cleveland-area entrepreneur who manages an investment fund that has attracted millions of dollars from some of Northeast Ohio's most powerful and politically connected titans of business. The fund, as reported today by Northeast Ohio Media Group, is drawing scrutiny from federal investigators.

Villarreal, despite his youth, has made a quick mark in the region's civic circles.

And like some of his investors – a group that has included James C. Boland, the chairman of the state's JobsOhio development agency, and Invacare Chief Executive Mal Mixon – Villarreal has emerged as a generous donor to Republican campaigns in Ohio.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Ohio governor's race: Ed FitzGerald to return campaign donation that violated his own ethics policy

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald collected a $1,000 political contribution from an investment banker one week after nominating him to serve on a board that reviews requests for economic development loans, records show.

The April donation from J.W. Sean Dorsey to FitzGerald's campaign for governor is at odds with a county ethics policy that FitzGerald sharpened after taking office in 2011.

Campaign officials said they were aware of the conflict before being asked about it Tuesday by Northeast Ohio Media Group. An aide flagged the donation more than a month ago, and though officials said a refund is planned, it has yet to be processed.

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