July 28, 2015 •

Ohio State Representative Convicted of Theft, Removed from Office

On July 27, 2015, a jury found state Rep. Steve Kraus guilty of fifth-degree felony theft. Under Ohio law, Kraus was automatically removed from his seat in the Ohio House upon his conviction. Kraus, who also works as an auctioneer […]

Steve KrausOn July 27, 2015, a jury found state Rep. Steve Kraus guilty of fifth-degree felony theft. Under Ohio law, Kraus was automatically removed from his seat in the Ohio House upon his conviction.

Kraus, who also works as an auctioneer and real estate agent, was accused of removing items from the home of an elderly woman. He asserted he had been granted permission to enter the home and it was his fiduciary duty to remove the items.

However, the woman’s real estate agent stated Kraus was only given permission to enter the garage to photograph an antique car.

Kraus faces up to 12 months in prison. The sentencing will be held on August 21.

Photo of Steve Kraus courtesy of the Ohio House of Representatives website.

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July 20, 2015 •

Group, Summit County Council Have Competing Redistricting Commission Plans

The group Fair Districts for Summit County has proposed a charter amendment to create an independent commission responsible for the approval of redistricting plans. Should the amendment gain enough signatures to get on the November ballot and be passed by […]

Summit County, OhioThe group Fair Districts for Summit County has proposed a charter amendment to create an independent commission responsible for the approval of redistricting plans. Should the amendment gain enough signatures to get on the November ballot and be passed by voters, the redistricting would take effect in 2016.

Ten Democratic council members have sponsored legislation opposing the amendment, claiming the changes are attempts to gerrymander districts to benefit Republicans and weaken the importance of Akron in county council districts.

The council is introducing its own charter amendment to create a redistricting commission, but any redistricting changes would take place after the 2020 U.S. Census.

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July 13, 2015 •

Ohio Budget Bill Includes Changes to Ethics and Campaign Finance Law

Gov. John Kasich signed House Bill 64, the biennial budget, on June 30. In addition to making $71 billion in appropriations, the bill modifies existing ethics and campaign finance laws. The bill authorizes the creation of a “Teacher of the […]

OhioGov. John Kasich signed House Bill 64, the biennial budget, on June 30. In addition to making $71 billion in appropriations, the bill modifies existing ethics and campaign finance laws. The bill authorizes the creation of a “Teacher of the Year” designation and allows a recipient of the award to receive gifts or privileges as part of the recognition program. In addition, the bill allows a person or entity to make contributions to the program without violating ethics laws.

House Bill 64 also permits nonprofit corporations designated as tax-exempt business organizations (i.e., 501(c)(6) organizations) to transfer portions of dues payments from its unincorporated member businesses to the organization’s political action committee (PAC). Prior to House Bill 64, campaign finance law banned a corporation from using its own funds, even those raised by dues, to aid any PAC, including its own.

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June 17, 2015 •

We Support the Annual Ohio Summer Social!

State and Federal Communications is proud to be a sponsor of The Ohio Society of Washington D.C. Summer Social this evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. The event will be held at Tortilla Coast (Capitol Hill Location) on First Street […]

OhioState and Federal Communications is proud to be a sponsor of The Ohio Society of Washington D.C. Summer Social this evening from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The event will be held at Tortilla Coast (Capitol Hill Location) on First Street SE.

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December 23, 2014 •

Ohio House Adjourns Sine Die

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives adjourned sine die, having concluded it regular floor session on December 17. The Senate had previously adjourned sine die on December 18. Among the bills passed by both chambers of the Legislature is a […]

Ohio StatehouseToday, the Ohio House of Representatives adjourned sine die, having concluded it regular floor session on December 17. The Senate had previously adjourned sine die on December 18. Among the bills passed by both chambers of the Legislature is a redistricting plan to be voted on by Ohioans in November of 2015.

Photo of the Ohio Statehouse by Urban on Wikimedia Commons.

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December 17, 2014 •

Akron City Council Increases Campaign Contribution Limits

On Monday, December 15, Akron City Council voted 8-4 to raise campaign contribution limits for mayoral and council candidates. All limits will increase by $100. Candidates for mayor and at-large council will be permitted to accept $750 per election and […]

Seal of AkronOn Monday, December 15, Akron City Council voted 8-4 to raise campaign contribution limits for mayoral and council candidates. All limits will increase by $100.

Candidates for mayor and at-large council will be permitted to accept $750 per election and ward council candidates will be permitted to accept $500 per election. The city charter requires council to review the contribution limits every two years.

The new limits come just in time for next year’s election as all council seats as well as the mayoral seat will be on the ballot.

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November 18, 2014 •

No Changes Made to Campaign Contribution Limits in Akron

On Monday, the Akron City Council rules committee voted to wait to make changes to the city’s campaign contribution limits. Council President Gary Moneypenny’s proposal would have increased the limits for mayoral and council candidates by $100. Former Councilman Warner […]

Seal of AkronOn Monday, the Akron City Council rules committee voted to wait to make changes to the city’s campaign contribution limits.

Council President Gary Moneypenny’s proposal would have increased the limits for mayoral and council candidates by $100.

Former Councilman Warner Mendenhall, who promoted a petition for the original contribution limits in 1998, protested the proposed changes during the afternoon committee meeting.

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November 17, 2014 •

Akron City Council to Consider Raising Campaign Contribution Limits

The Akron City Council is considering legislation to increase campaign finance limits for mayoral and council candidates. Limits for mayor and at-large council candidates would increase to $750 and the limit for ward council candidates would increase to $500. The […]

Seal of AkronThe Akron City Council is considering legislation to increase campaign finance limits for mayoral and council candidates. Limits for mayor and at-large council candidates would increase to $750 and the limit for ward council candidates would increase to $500.

The council is waiting to take action on the legislation until after public hearings have been held. Hearings will take place at the Rules Committee meeting and at the regular council meeting later today.

The 10 ward council seats, the three at-large council seats, and the mayoral seat will all be on the 2015 election ballot.

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October 15, 2014 •

FitzGerald Proposes Amendment Clarifying County Contracting Ban

Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed an amendment at Tuesday’s County Council meeting seeking to clarify the county’s code in light of an independent county board ruling. The Debarment Review Board, a panel largely made up of FitzGerald appointees, effectively […]

Cuyahoga County SealCuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald proposed an amendment at Tuesday’s County Council meeting seeking to clarify the county’s code in light of an independent county board ruling. The Debarment Review Board, a panel largely made up of FitzGerald appointees, effectively shortened the county contracting ban for a former contractor convicted of corruption.

The board ruled William Neiheiser’s ban should have begun the day he was convicted of bribery in July 2011 and run through July 2016. County Inspector General Nailah Byrd imposed the ban from June 2014 to June 2019.

FitzGerald’s proposed amendment stipulates contracting bans are to begin the day they are publicly handed down by the county inspector general enforcing the policy.

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September 30, 2014 •

Supreme Court Stays Ohio Early Voting Decision

In a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court order requiring the state to begin early voting on September 30, 2014. The stay eliminates the period known as the “Golden Week,” when voters were able to register […]

OhioIn a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed a lower court order requiring the state to begin early voting on September 30, 2014.

The stay eliminates the period known as the “Golden Week,” when voters were able to register and vote on the same day.

The stay will remain in effect until the state formally appeals the lower court’s order and the Court acts upon that appeal.

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June 19, 2014 •

Ohio JLEC Issues Opinion on Tickets to Charitable Fundraisers

The Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Committee recently issued an advisory opinion clarifying certain gift reporting requirements for members, candidates, and employees of the General Assembly. The opinion also applies to reports filed by any legislative agent providing a gift to […]

OhioThe Ohio Joint Legislative Ethics Committee recently issued an advisory opinion clarifying certain gift reporting requirements for members, candidates, and employees of the General Assembly. The opinion also applies to reports filed by any legislative agent providing a gift to a reportable person.

Advisory Opinion 2014-003 speaks to the value of a complimentary ticket to a charitable fundraiser where the source of the ticket is a third party. When provided by a third party, a complimentary ticket to a non-political fundraiser is a gift, the value of which is the portion of the ticket price that is not tax-deductible.

Furthermore, such portion accrues toward any applicable gift limit. Conversely, a ticket to a charitable fundraiser where the source is the entity holding the event is not considered a gift.

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June 16, 2014 •

Ohio Lawmakers to Introduce Campaign Finance Legislation

Ohio Reps. Nick Celebrezze and Ronald Gerberry announced plans last week to introduce legislation creating a campaign contribution blackout for the attorney general’s office. New legislation would prohibit contributions to the attorney general and to any party-endorsed candidates for the […]

Ohio flagOhio Reps. Nick Celebrezze and Ronald Gerberry announced plans last week to introduce legislation creating a campaign contribution blackout for the attorney general’s office. New legislation would prohibit contributions to the attorney general and to any party-endorsed candidates for the office while the office is reviewing bids on contract work.

Celebrezze believes a blackout period will help eliminate the appearance of impropriety. Attorney General Mike DeWine, however, claims enforcement of the blackout periods makes the process inherently more political. Moreover, he said contributions have not influenced his decision to award contract work.

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April 10, 2014 •

House Bill 483 to Alter Ohio Campaign Finance Law

On Wednesday, April 9, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a large piece of Gov. Kasich’s mid-biennium budget proposal. Prior to passage, House Republicans added numerous amendments to House Bill 483; it is now more than 800 pages long. One […]

Ohio Statehouse

On Wednesday, April 9, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a large piece of Gov. Kasich’s mid-biennium budget proposal. Prior to passage, House Republicans added numerous amendments to House Bill 483; it is now more than 800 pages long.

One amendment voids administrative rule 111-3-05 and changes state campaign finance law by lifting the disclosure requirement for corporations and labor organizations making independent expenditures. It also allows foreign-owned corporations and corporations with state contracts to spend money promoting or opposing state candidates.

Former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner issued the rule in 2011 and fears its repeal will make it easier for national political interests to operate state-based Super PACs.

The bill passed the House by a primarily partisan vote of 57-33 and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.

Photo of the Ohio State Capitol by Alexander Smith on Wikimedia Commons.

 

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December 10, 2013 •

Ohio School Board Member Resigns After Allegations of Ethics Violations

State school board member Bryan Williams resigned after allegedly violating provisions of the state ethics laws by lobbying the government for private interests. The law prohibits an elected member of a state board or commission from receiving compensation for services […]

Ohio flagState school board member Bryan Williams resigned after allegedly violating provisions of the state ethics laws by lobbying the government for private interests. The law prohibits an elected member of a state board or commission from receiving compensation for services he or she performs personally on a matter before any state agency.

When first appointed to fill a vacant seat, an exemption in state law allowed Williams to simultaneously serve in a public position while advocating as a lobbyist. Upon his election in 2012, however, the exemption no longer applied. The Ohio Ethics Commission has not confirmed any investigation or future legal actions.

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