Two forms were required to be filed by local candidates for public office over the past several weeks that highlight campaign spending and personal financial disclosure. The Ohio Secretary of State required that candidates file with the Adams County Board of Elections on March 5th to disclose campaign spending through February 26th.
The reports show that most candidates had not spent large amounts of money as they campaigned for local office. The campaigns with the most funds available at the start of the reporting period were those of Dane Clark and Teresa Diane Ward in the race for County Commissioner. Clark had $10,325 cash on hand and Ward had $8,067.72.
In the other race for County Commissioner, incumbent Barbara Moore had over $3,000 and so did her opponent, Troy Dotson coming in at $3,755.76.
In the race for Clerk of Courts, incumbent Larry Heller had just over $2,000.00. Challengers Helen Cluxton Williams had just over $1,200.00 cash on hand and Holly Johnson had $2,867.77.
The reports do not necessarily reflect all campaign spending and contributions. Most of the time, candidates loan themselves more money and find more contributors to help offset spending. The full reports for campaign finances will be due after the election. Generally, candidates in Adams County have spent anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 to run competitive races.
In Ohio, state law also requires a financial disclosure form to be filed with the Ohio Ethics Commission. The form promotes transparency and helps deter potential corruption from public officials and candidates for public offices. The forms are public record and are reviewed each year by the Informer. The Ethics Commission requires, with some exceptions, filers to disclose sources of income, sources of gifts, names of spouses and/or dependent children living in the household, names of businesses, real estate holdings, creditors, debtors, and investments over $1,000.00. It also requires disclosure of offices and fiduciary relationships, and travel expenses.
All local candidates filed their required ethics disclosure on time, with the exception of one. After reviewing the documents, the Informer reached out to Holly Johnson, candidate for Clerk of Courts and asked her to comment on why she had failed to file her ethics form as required by law on or before Tuesday, February 18th. No response was received, however, Johnson did contact the Ohio Ethics Commission within hours and pay the remaining balance of her sanction/late fee with the state of Ohio totaling $140.00 after the inquiry from the Informer. Johnson did file the report on March 3rd at 7:08 a.m.
“Ms. Johnson has paid the remainder of her late fee balance this morning. She has now paid all of the $140.00 late fee,” said Eric Bruce from the Ohio Ethics Commission on Wednesday.
The Informer reached out to Ms. Johnson a second time requesting comment on her failure to file a timely report. No response was received as of the press deadline.