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Government and Politics


Democrats say Mandel would be playing politics on the public's nickel
State treasurer says his town halls would be aimed at an informed electorate
by WKSU's ANDY CHOW


Reporter
Andy Chow
 
Ohio's Attorney General Mike DeWine says taxpayer-funded telephone meetings would be legal, with conditions.
Courtesy of ROBERT SUSTERSIC
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The Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says it’s fine for the state treasurer – a fellow Republican – to pay a private vendor to conduct telephone town hall meetings. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, Democrats say this could lead to misuse of taxpayer money.

LISTEN: Josh Mandel and town halls

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It’s an election year. And Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern believes Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel will use these publicly funded telephone town hall meetings this year to further his own campaign.

“From the day he became treasurer Josh Mandel has been singularly focused on using his office for his own personal political gain and this most recent requested and received opinion from the attorney general is proof positive that Josh Mandel will try to use the taxpayers and their dollars anyway he can.”

Mandel was unavailable for comment but a spokesperson says the town halls are about expanding access to constituents and empowering citizens.

Attorney General Mike DeWine emphasized that his office issued an opinion that only serves to answer the legality of these telephone town halls. In the opinion, DeWine warns that these meetings cannot be used to promote Mandel’s candidacy. 

Redfern says this decision would open the gates to allow any state leader to hold a taxpayer-paid telephone town hall. But he says he’ll but he will urge every Democratic incumbent candidate to avoid holding them because it sends the wrong message.

 

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