Local Dem leader wants cash contributions outlawed - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

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Local Dem leader wants cash contributions outlawed

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman Dave Betras is asking local legislators to sponsor a measure that would make it illegal to donate cash to political candidates in Ohio.  Right now state law doesn't permit cash contributions of more than $100.

Betras' move comes on the heels of reporting by 21 News print partner, The Vindicator, that former Youngstown Mayor Chuck Sammarone gave $4,000 in cash to independent mayoral candidate DeMaine Kitchen.  On Saturday, Sammarone told The Vindicator he "should have known" better than to give Kitchen the money.  Sammarone was on his way out as Mayor when the contribution was made.  Kitchen was Sammarone's Chief of Staff.  Kitchen lost the election to former County Commissioner John McNally.

In a letter to Ohio State Senator Joe Schiavone (D) and Representatives Ron Gerberry (D) and  Bob Hagan (D), Betras called Sammarone's contribution "the latest in a series of campaign finance violations involving cash that undermine the public's trust in both our electoral system and local government."  Betras went on to say the transfer of cash from donors to candidates "carries with it the stench of corruption, influence-peddling and backroom dealing that has plagued the community for far too long."

Betras is asking the lawmakers to draft legislation that would "totally ban cash contributions" and make the acceptance of cash contributions over $100 a Misdemeanor of the First Degree under Ohio law.

Betras called the existing sanctions under Ohio law "inadequate."

 

 

 

 

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