With Josh Mandel, things often get complicated. Consider the Associated Press report last week revealing two traffic accidents involving the Ohio treasurer since he took office in January 2011. The accidents did not surface until lately, in part, because Mandel doesn’t use state-owned transportation. He argues that the practice translates into savings for taxpayers.
One accident took place in March, near Toledo, Mandel riding in a Jeep Grand Cherokee owned by his U.S. Senate campaign. The trouble is, the race ended four months earlier, Mandel defeated by the incumbent Sherrod Brown. Federal campaign finance laws hold that campaign property cannot be used in such a way. Thus, we have the treasurer possibly doing something illegal.
His office told the Associated Press that the Jeep was a rental, by Mandel’s state treasurer campaign from his U.S. Senate campaign. The AP noted the rental check arrived in June, or long after the accident and the federal deadline for payment.
Earlier in August, the Columbus Dispatch reported that Mandel has been touring the state since January. There’s nothing wrong with that, though Mandel has run into turbulence in the past for failing to attend to his treasurer duties. He talks about “leveraging the leadership of my office,” meeting with Ohioans, the discussions ranging widely.
And who covers the cost of these visits? The Mandel state treasurer campaign fund, according to the Dispatch. So what is he doing, campaigning for re-election, or just performing his job?