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Ohio commission refuses to investigate campaign "money laundering" charge

The Ohio Elections Commission gave notice once again Thursday that it has no intention of scrutinizing the hundreds of thousands of dollars being poured by big-city donors into the state candidate funds of rural county parties.

By a 5-1 vote, commissioners dismissed a complaint filed by Democratic operative Larry McCartney that accuses House Speaker Larry Householder and other Republicans of using three county parties as "laundries" for illegal campaign contributions. An individual can donate no more than $2,500 to a candidate, but can give up to $5,000 to a county state candidate fund. The fund can give up to $549,000 to a candidate during an election cycle.

Commissioners who appeared to be wavering on a request by McCartney to take sworn depositions voted to toss the case after Executive Director Phil Richter told them he believed the commission lacked jurisdiction.

The decision mirrored a commission ruling in 2002 after another Democrat accused Republican State Treasurer Joe Deters of steering donors to the Hamilton County GOP state candidate fund and then accepting nearly 100 percent of the fund's donations during one period. Commissioners also dismissed that case. -- State panel refuses to probe rural funds: Elections Commission says it lacks authority (Cleveland Plain Dealer)