Alleged campaign account fraud illustrates need for election law overhaul

An investigation into $120,000 missing from the campaign account of U.S. Representative Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) highlights a loophole in the federal campaign finance system, according to a recent editorial in The Toledo Blade. The main focus of the investigation is James Schwartz, Jr., the son of Chabot’s longtime campaign treasurer of record, James Schwartz, Sr. According to the article, “the elder Mr. Schwartz was not aware he continued to be identified as Mr. Chabot’s campaign treasurer,” although he has been listed on Chabot’s campaign finance reports since 2011. This implies that no member of Chabot’s campaign staff “has conducted a serious conversation” about his campaign account with its treasurer for eight years.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose “noted that this occurred through a loophole in the federal campaign finance system” and said that Ohio is “vulnerable to the same possible fraud.” LaRose has proposed a change to ensure campaign treasurers have reviewed and approved campaign finance reports. State Representative George Lang is expected to introduce legislation that would require a notary to verify a campaign treasurer’s signature.

Election Law