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Government and Politics

Renacci and Mandel donations investigated
Suarez Corporation employees pool $100k for each
This story is part of a special series.

Mark Urycki
Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) His 16th district includes Canton
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In The Region:
The FBI is investigating campaign donations from a Canton corporation to two candidates for Congress. The campaigns of 16th district Congressman Jim Renacci and US Senatorial candidate Josh Mandel have both confirmed the investigation. WKSU’s Mark Urycki has details.
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Last year The Toledo Blade noticed that 17 employees of the North Canton-based Suarez Corporation and six of their spouses combined to donate more than $100,000 to each of the Rennacci and Mandel campaigns. Both are Republicans and company owner Benjamin Suarez is a longtime Republican donor. He has given the maximum amount to the candidates himself. The Blade and now The New Republic magazine pointed out that some of the employees who donated $10,000 to $20,000 live in modest houses. The Ohio Democratic Party called the Blade report "troubling." Travis Considine, a spokesman for the Mandel campaign, confirmed that now the feds are investigating  . .

“ The campaign is aware of the investigation and is fully cooperating with it. Neither the campaign nor anyone associated with it is associated with it is the subject of the investigation.”

Campaign leaders often act as bundlers to raise money from individuals and then donate it at one time to a candidate. But there are strict rules against employers who might pressure or reimburse employees who donate. A spokesman for the Renacci campaign, Sean Ryan, says they told the US Attorney’s office that the Suarez employee contributions did not arrive all at one time but over the course of several months.

“To our knowledge no contributions made by any donor were made to our campaign were made improperly however if we find out any contributions either made in the past or in the future were not made properly and in full accordance with the law they will be returned immediately.”

Company owner Benjamin Suarez told the Blade that his employees made enough money to afford $10,000 donations and he added that “they think Sherrod Brown is a radical communist.”  

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