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OHIO GOVERNOR Candidate hits eBay to raise funds for race



Published: Mon, February 21, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



He said he got the idea while reading a letter from Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.

COLUMBUS (AP) -- A man running for Ohio governor is offering his cleaning, painting and handyman services to the highest bidder on Internet auction site eBay, hoping to raise money and support for his campaign.

Larry Bays, of Wooster, is offering to work an eight-hour day once a month in the first year after he is elected.

"I will paint, clean, any handy man job you have," the posting said. The starting bid was $900, and had not attracted any takers by Sunday night. The auction ends Tuesday.

Bays, a Republican and Wayne County park commissioner, said he got the idea while reading a fund-raising solicitation letter from another Republican gubernatorial candidate -- Secretary of State Ken Blackwell -- just as a TV program was showing footage of a pregnant woman offering her bulging belly to advertisers.

"I just thought, 'Wow, with all this going on, I could offer to work for people rather than bugging them for money for my campaign,"' said Bays, 60.

Loophole

Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office, said Bays may have found "a gray area in the law."

"While Ohio's election bribery statutes refer to offering something of value for a vote, they do not specifically address offering something of future value for a campaign contribution," LoParo said.

LoParo said Bays' auction will not violate any campaign finance laws as long as the winning bid does not exceed the $2,500 limit for an individual contribution to a campaign.

"Finding the candidates that are for sale, but not advertising, is what we're concerned with," he said.

The eBay listing, which describes Bays as "a Republican for the working people," said he would honor his commitment to the winning bidder, even if he is not elected.




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