Bill Johnson’s congressional campaign fund tops $870K

Bill Johnson, who left the U.S. House on Jan. 21 to become Youngstown State University president, still has a healthy surplus in his congressional campaign account even after spending $131,313 of the fund during the first three months of the year.

Johnson’s congressional fund had a surplus of $872,287 as of March 31, according to the latest report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The fund reported receiving $9,743 in the first quarter of the year, including $9,500 from political action committees. The fund refunded all but $2,500 of that PAC money. It kept a $2,500 check from the PAC for Aflac, an insurance company, that it received Jan. 11. Johnson’s campaign fund stated the check was dated prior to his announcement he was leaving his congressional office.

While Johnson’s last day in Congress was Jan. 21, he announced on Jan. 2 that he was hired Nov. 21 by the YSU trustees, and said on that date that he was planning to resign from the House sometime in the first three months of this year.

Johnson’s fund also accepted $243 from Johnson Leads Committee, his joint fundraising committee that closed its account Feb. 15. That committee was formed by Johnson’s campaign committee, his leadership PAC and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Johnson’s leadership PAC reported having $609 in its fund as of Feb. 29.

Johnson, a Republican, spent 13 years in Congress and had a $1,329,874 surplus in his fund as of Sept. 30, less than two months before his controversial hire as president by YSU trustees.

Johnson was able to reduce that surplus to $993,857 by Dec. 31, largely because of a $235,000 contribution he made Nov. 29 to the NRCC.

But the committee’s spending slowed in the first quarter. The fund’s surplus declined by $121,570 in the first three months of the year, leaving him with $872,287 as of March 31.

The Federal Election Commission has restrictions for what it calls “winding down costs” for former federal officeholders. Among the allowable expenses are moving costs from a Washington, D.C., office to the former officeholder’s home state, payments to committee staff, donations to charitable organizations, donations to state and local political candidates, and “unlimited transfers to any national, state or local political party committee.”

Johnson’s largest expense during the first quarter of this year was $57,500 in total refunds, including from those who contributed to his campaign in 2023.

He paid $19,046 to Communications Counsel of Columbus, his longtime media consulting firm, and $15,000 to Ironclad Consulting LLC of Hilliard, for fundraising consulting.

Among Johnson’s expenses after his Jan. 21 resignation date listed on his report were $1,646 for travel on Southwest Airlines on March 20; $2,253 for a hotel stay in Canton, listed as March 29; $265 for a March 26 “meeting expense” to PGA West Golf Resort in La Quinta, California; and a $1,581 “meeting expense” at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, D.C., listed as Feb. 16.

Johnson also gave $1,000 on Jan. 26 to the YSU Penguin Club, a booster organization that supports student-athletes at the university.

Johnson’s 6th Congressional District seat has been vacant since his Jan. 21 resignation.

Republican Michael Rulli, a state senator from Salem, faces Democrat Michael L. Kripchak of Youngstown, in the June 11 special election for the remainder of his unexpired term. The two also will face each other in the Nov. 5 general election for a full two-year term starting in January 2025.

Have an interesting story? Contact David Skolnick by email at dskolnick@vindy.com. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter, @dskolnick.


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