Lawsuit filed against elections commission

By David Skolnick


A Boardman accountant has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission contending Charlie Wilson, the Democratic nominee in the 6th Congressional District, violated laws by filing incorrect campaign finance reports.

G. Charles Wilkinson Sr. of Boardman also named Wilson’s campaign and his campaign treasurer, Angela Hatfield of Bridgeport, in his complaint.

Wilkinson accused Wilson, Hatfield and the committee of failing to report three contributions on a timely basis, over-reporting one of those contributions, and failing to report the source of a loan from Wilson to the campaign.

The over-reported amount — listing the same $5,000 contribution from the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association’s Political Action League — was a “clerical issue” in which a campaign staff member didn’t check a box listing it as an amended report, said J.R. Starrett, Wilson’s campaign manager. The campaign did not receive more money than legally permissible from the union, he said.

As for the other issues, there is “no validity” to them, he said.

Wilson of St. Clairsville is challenging U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, who defeated the Democrat in the 2010 election.

The Ohio Elections Commission dismissed complaints filed against both campaigns last Thursday after legal counsel from both sides agreed to drop those complaints.

Those were separate from Wilkinson’s complaint.

“I have no ax to grind with Charlie,” Wilkinson said. “I’m sure the FEC is bombarded with complaints and I don’t expect anything to be resolved before the election. But it’s the principle of the matter.”

Mark Weaver, Johnson’s campaign spokesman, said: “We agree with the gentleman who filed the complaint that Charlie Wilson is one of those politicians who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.”

Starrett said Johnson “continues to push petty complaints to distract voters from” his support of a plan to end Medicare as we know it and that he worked for a company that outsourced American jobs.

The 6th District includes all of Columbiana County and a southern portion of Mahoning County. The 6th’s boundaries are changing after this election because of statewide redistricting. Boardman is in the current 6th District, but not in the new 6th.

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