Julie Carr Smyth
COLUMBUS: Executives at 10 of the 17 manufacturing companies whose workers won a new award established by Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel (man-DEHLí) have donated to Republican candidates, including Mandel himself.
A review finds Mandelís re-election campaign received donations from executives at three firms shortly after their skilled-trades employees were recognized.
The findings raise questions about whether Mandel, facing Democratic state Rep. Connie Pillich this fall, is using the nonmonetary Ohio Strong Award to reward and attract political contributors.
Mandelís office says the program recognizes no companies, only workers, and is intended to raise the profile of skilled-trades workers and encourage pursuit of manufacturing careers.
Award recipients themselves are mostly Democrats or independents.
Companies with Republican ties include Lima-based American Trim, Taylor-Winfield Technologies in Youngstown and Toledo Metal Spinning.