Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel Won't Return White Supremacist's Donation

Josh Mandel, the Jewish Republican Treasurer of Ohio who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2012, will not return a campaign donation from a white supremacist group, despite the group's alleged influence to the perpetrator of the hate-fueled South Carolina Church shootings. Northeast Ohio Media Group reports:

"Earl Holt donated $1,500 to the Senate campaign in 2012. The money he donated was spent over two and a half years ago so it cannot be refunded," said Chris Berry, a spokesman for the treasurer who made clear he was speaking on behalf of Mandel's disbanded Senate campaign as a volunteer.  

Mandel's treasury from that campaign still has $49,694 in the bank, according to its April report to the Federal Election Commission. It would be permissible under federal campaign finance law to use that money for a donation to an outside group or charity, according to a number of people involved in political campaigns. That's exactly what some other politicians are doing.

But Mandel, who manages Ohio's public funds, appears to view this as a matter of strict accounting for specific sums at specific times: When Holt's money came in, it was spent almost immediately on Mandel's Senate campaign. The surplus left after the election came from other donations. 

Berry said later Monday, "Treasurer Mandel and our entire team deplore racism and bigotry of any kind. We cannot manufacture a donation that has already been spent."

The Guardian reports on Holt's pattern of donating to top Republicans:

Holt has since 2012 contributed $8,500 to Cruz, the Texas senator running for the Republican presidential nomination, and his Jobs, Growth and Freedom Fund political action committee, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings. On some filings Holt’s occupation was listed as “slumlord”.

He has also given $1,750 to RandPAC, the political action committee of Paul, the Kentucky senator and presidential contender, and he gave $2,000 to the 2012 presidential campaign of Mitt Romney.

A further $1,500 was donated by Holt to Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 Republican presidential primary runner-up, who is running for president again in the 2016 race and attended Sunday’s memorial service at Emanuel AME Church.

According to JTA, among the Republicans who have returned the funds to Holt or donated their equivalent to a charity, including one in memory of the nine victims, are three presidential candidates: Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.