Jessica Wehrman of the Dayton Daily News looks in to what elected officials in Ohio are financing out of their campaign accounts -- Attorney General Marc Dann in particular -- in this article that includes commentary from our Executive Director, Nick Nyhart.
It's tricky to know where to draw the line on what an ethical campaign expenditure is, but Dann seems to have tread much closer to the line than other officials:
"I think there's a danger in the practice of using your campaign account to basically afford you a lifestyle," said Nick Nyhart of the Public Campaign Action Fund, a campaign finance watchdog in Washington, D.C.
Dann, who earned $109,990 as attorney general, dipped into his campaign funds far more than the other statewide officeholders in Ohio, an examination of annual campaign finance reports filed with the secretary of state shows.
Dann, for example, charged his campaign for food and beverages more than 300 times last year, according to his annual report. During the same time period, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner charged 12 meal or food expenses to her campaign's dime. Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray charged his campaign for food just four times.
Then you get into the question of whether campaign contributions are basically a pass-through for money from an interested party to directly benefit a candidate for public office -- a back-door bribery. Dann defends his expenses in the article, but the question remains.