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RYAN CAMPAIGN Panel receives another complaint



Published: Fri, May 3, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The former congressional candidate says the federal agency should investigate Ryan's campaign finances.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

WARREN -- Randy Walter is following in his father's footsteps by filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission about the campaign finance reports of state Sen. Timothy J. Ryan, a congressional candidate.

Ryan calls the complaints "bogus."

Donald Walter, a Mahoning Valley businessman who is supporting U.S. Rep. Thomas C. Sawyer in the 17th Congressional District Democratic primary, filed a complaint with the FEC last week about a co-signed $50,000 loan to Ryan's campaign, which he says violates federal rules because co-signers are considered to be contributors.

Ryan and Dennis Rossi, the loan co-signer, are equally responsible for the loan, or $25,000 each.

Individuals can donate no more than $1,000 to a congressional campaign per election cycle.

Half of the loan has since been repaid.

Now Randy Walter, a former congressional candidate, has written the FEC saying Ryan is still using the proceeds from the other half of the loan and "this appears again to violate the law and should be investigated."

The younger Walter said $2,500 from the Western Reserve Trade Council that Ryan got through the Mahoning County Democratic Party at the council's request also appears to violate election rules.

That money was returned.

The party is not permitted to give more than $1,000 to a federal campaign per election cycle.

Office rental

Randy Walter also wants the FEC to investigate Ryan's use of a downtown Warren office as his campaign headquarters.

Campaign officials previously said the office did not officially open until April 1 and as soon as Ryan gets a bill from the landlord, he will pay the $450 monthly rent.

The issues will not be resolved before Tuesday's primary election.

"Last week, it was Randy Walter's father. This week, it was Tony Latell's personal attack ads," Ryan responded.

"Now, five days before the election, Randy Walter, himself, whose family has given thousands of dollars to the Sawyer campaign, trots out the same recycled dirty politics.

"Every one of the bogus complaints ... have been discredited as groundless by the Mahoning County prosecutor, by the Ohio Elections Commission and by the FEC, which has yet to note a single violation."

Saying he refuses to engage in those tactics, he added, "I will continue as I have from the start of this campaign to focus on trying to turn this valley around.

"If Tom Sawyer wants to attack Tim Ryan, he should have the guts to do it himself."

skolnick@vindy.com




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