Rick Perales’ Mystery Money – Fails To Comply With Campaign Finance Reporting Requirements

Our campaign has to comply with the Secretary of State’s office with regards to campaign finance laws. Basically, we have to disclose all income coming in, and all expenses incurred. Our most recent filing deadline was just last week.

Upon examination of my opponent’s reports for this period, I found that in his official Expenditure report, he has listed approximately 40% of his entire expenses under the classification of “Reimbursement.” These amounts represent checks he has paid himself from his campaign funds. There is no other detail regarding these payments. The legally required accompanying receipts and documents as to these expenditures are all missing. So it is unclear what these funds have been spent on. As a professional accountant, I know that this is an unacceptable classification for an expense, and the fact that it makes up such a large proportion of total expenses is yet another reason for concern.

I reached out to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office for clarification on this, and I was told that this classification was indeed too vague, and outside of the rules. They said that when the report is audited, my opponent’s campaign will be asked for clarification and to provide documentation to support his claims — at some point over THE NEXT YEAR.

So I guess when Mr. Perales recently stated publicly that “if anyone has any issues, problems, questions,” regarding his campaign finances, that “It’s all out there. We have visibility,” he was not being entirely forthcoming.

Meanwhile, my opponent gets to examine my campaign and see every last detail of my expenses, because our campaign strives for public transparency of money in our politics, while you and I do not get that same option in regards to his financial activities. In contrast, my Treasurer is a dedicated and detail-orientated individual who has worked hard to be in complete compliance with election law at all times. You will see the results of her efforts in our lodged reports.

Mr. Perales likes to claim repeatedly that I am not experienced enough for this job. Apparently, he is not experienced enough even after 16 years in public office to know how to properly lodge his reports with the required transparency. If the experience he claims I’m lacking is in how to appear deceptively vague in one’s financial accountability, or in how to lodge reports that look like they’ve been completed by amateurs, then he can keep that experience for himself.

It should be reiterated these reports are not optional. They are required both by law and by the basic standards of an open and democratically accountable government. Mr. Perales has chaffed at my campaign’s ongoing emphasis on focusing on the sources of where money comes and goes in politics, insisting that he’s not influenced by money. “I’m not going to do anything different if you give me money, and that’s what’s alleged here.”

That very well may be the case, but the principles of American governance are not founded upon the idea of simply trusting power to do the right thing, but holding those with it to a higher standard of accountability and transparency.

And it is not just my opponent’s report filings that are questionable, but he also openly and consistently solicits donations to “cover expenses fulfilling the duties of State Representative.” Now this may be technically legal, but it seems highly inappropriate at the very least to have one’s campaign fundraising configured in a way that could very easily be utilized as a pay-to-play slot machine for the purchasing of political favors. Mr. Perales also states that he will use contributions “in a responsible and efficient manner, as if it was my own money.” Considering he’s using so much of it as personal and unaccountable “reimbursements” to himself, I guess that’s literally the case.

Mr. Perales asserts that “anyone out there that knows me, knows that I am not influenced by money.” That may be the case, but as a public official it is not about having the confidence of the people who personally know you, but of the mass majority of your constituents who don’t. The fact of the matter is that, thanks to the lack of proper disclosure in his reports, we can’t tell one way or another. As President Reagan once famously insisted, “Trust, but verify.” For it is from behind this kind of lack of transparency where the cancerous rot of corruption takes seed.

Oh, and while we are talking campaign finance, on the other side of the ledger, it was inspiring to see that we have had over 200 individual donations to our campaign during the last reporting period. Mr. Perales had less than 100, with a number of them coming from corporate PACs. In fact, we have received during this campaign donations from well over 300 different people, almost three times as many as my opponent, with many of his being from corporate PACs.  A HUGE THANK YOU to those of you who have chosen to support our campaign financially! We have broken all existing fundraising records for candidates for this office by orders of magnitude, and we couldn’t have done it without your help! And I will gladly show you where we have spent your money. Every last cent.

You will find my complete financial disclosures, as well as Mr. Perales’ deficient ones on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website:

Our state government has become infested with one corrupt pay-to-play scam after another. There is a reason why Ohio, after decades of one party rule by Mr. Perales’ party, has gotten such terrible rankings when it comes to public accountability….

Ohio Gets D+ Grade in 2015 State Integrity Investigation (A struggle to obtain public records from state officials)

Enough is enough. It’s time for a new direction.

Once again, the choice becomes clear. A vote for me is a vote for open and honest government, and for representation that will fight against the culture of corruption plaguing our politics, not enable it.

VOTE KIM this November 6!

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The People With Kim McCarthy