COLUMBUS - Last week it was announced that a former consultant of Congressman Steve Chabot’s congressional campaign was being investigated for allegedly embezzling more than $120,000 from Rep. Chabot’s campaign account. Initial reports indicate the individual listed his own father as the campaign treasurer, doing so without his permission, in order to maintain autonomous and secret control over campaign funds without any accountability. The embezzlement of funds is a clear abuse of the campaign finance system.
While this fraud took place at the federal level, a similar loophole can be found in state law. Currently, a campaign treasurer isn’t even required to sign their own name. This exposes campaign accounts to fraud.
Today, Secretary LaRose, announced that his office will update campaign finance Designation of Treasurer forms to require the signature of both the candidate and the treasurer. Additionally, in partnership with State Representative George Lang (R-Butler County), LaRose proposed new legislation which will require that the campaign treasurer’s signature be verified by a third-party notary.
“Fraud has no place in our campaign finance system,” said LaRose. “By closing this loophole, we’ll create greater accountability in the system and ensure want-to-be criminals can’t take advantage of campaigns and the hard-working Ohioans who contribute to them. I appreciate Representative Lang doing his part to fight for the people of Ohio, and I urge the legislature move swiftly to close the Campaign Treasurer Loophole.”