Kasich Returns Campaign Funds From Indicted Contributor

By
UPDATED: Thursday September 26, 2013 4:51 PM

Gov. John Kasich's campaign has donated $22,395 to a mental health agency after a contributor to his 2010 campaign was indicted on federal charges of funneling cash to congressional campaigns.

Kasich's campaign says they have delivered the check to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

Benjamin Suarez of Canton was named in a nine-count indictment filed earlier this week by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

He is accused of funneling money to the 2012 campaigns of Josh Mandel, who was unsuccessful in his bid for the U.S. Senate, and

Rep. Jim Renacci, who defeated his Democratic opponent Betty Sutton.

Kasich's Democratic opponent Ed FitzGerald earlier Thursday had demanded Kasich return the money.

"For more than a year, Gov. Kasich held on to this money, despite an ongoing FBI investigation into the donor that prompted others to return hundreds of thousands in donations," said campaign manager Nick Buis.

The Ohio Republican Party responded late Thursday afternoon.

"There's a difference between Ed FitzGerald and Gov. Kasich --almost as soon as the person was indicted the governor's campaign chose to donate to charity funds that are completely legal, yet FitzGerald received illegal cash and didn't return it as the law requires, even after he knew it was illegal," said spokesman Chris Schrimpf.

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