Drew Alexander may be correct that once the life of a county sheriff is threatened, the elected official is permitted to install a security system at home. The former Summit County sheriff, now just a short time into retirement, points to documentation showing the threats. The department legal counsel examined whether campaign funds could be used to pay for the system.
As Rick Armon, a Beacon Journal staff writer, reported last week, the answer was yes, even though Marc Dann, a former state attorney general, got into trouble for the same thing. The difference, according to Alexander? Dann spent to excess.
The Ohio Elections Commission that fined Dann didn’t say no to Alexander. The panel didn’t give its approval, either. Which highlights a nagging concern about the purchase last year.
Ohio hardly has inflexible rules for spending campaign cash. It does bar dipping into the coffers for personal expenses unrelated to a campaign. Alexander won’t be running again. So he virtually emptied the account, mostly giving to charities and other campaigns. A county with a sheriff facing death threats as he left office would seem to have reason to spend public money for security. At the least, such a process would have an element of accountability — as opposed to Alexander and his legal counsel having the final word.