Watchdog: Renacci Should Return Tainted Contributions

Washington, D.C.—National campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund called on Congressman Jim Renacci to return $100,000 in contributions he received from employees and their spouses at the Suarez Corporation – donations that are under investigation by the FBI – or place the questionable donations into a separate fund until he has been cleared of wrong-doing and the donations are deemed to be lawful. Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel (R) has already returned similar contributions. The FBI is probing whether company owner Benjamin Suarez illegally reimbursed employees after making these donations.

“We don’t know what, if any, influence Suarez was trying to buy over Congressman Renacci, but Renacci’s constituents deserve to know he’s taken every step to reject any appearance of a conflict of interest,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund. “He owes it to his constituents to not only return or put the money aside, but also come clean with what he knows and when he knew it.”

According to the Toledo Blade, “Federal officials have investigated questionable campaign contributions to two Ohio officeholders, U.S. Rep. James Renacci and state treasurer and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel” that total “$100,000 each to Renacci and Mandel.”

This isn’t the first campaign finance controversy Renacci has faced since entering Congress.

  • In April, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer highlighted the amount of PAC money Renacci received after criticizing his Democratic opponent, former Rep. John Boccieri, for taking such money in the last election.
  • Speaker John Boehner’s staff worked behind-the-scenes to include a “carve out” for the Timken Company in Renacci’s new district. Afterward, Boehner’s joint fundraising committee received $50,000 from Timken’s CEO. Renacci has received $13,400 from Timken employees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“New members of Congress, like Renacci, often to go to Congress promising to change the way Washington works but get caught up in the broken system,” said Donnelly. “Like his opponent in the fall election, Renacci can show he’s doing that by supporting legislation like the Fair Elections Now Act to end our current system that encourages big money fundraising, which leads to corruption and scandal.”

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Public Campaign Action Fund works to raise the voices of everyday people in our political process and holds politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at www.campaignmoney.org.