Ward: The soldier, the attorney and the lobbyistWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | firstname.lastname@example.org
During the Oct. 11 debate between Rich Iott and Marcy Kaptur, a question was asked about Iott listing his employer as “State of Ohio” and his occupation as “soldier” on a March 19, 2010, $500 donation to the Republican National Committee (RNC).
I found the information on the Federal Election Communications (FEC) website. I was looking at donations from Iott through the FEC because Iott told Toledo Free Press during an earlier interview that he had made several donations to Kaptur in the past. I was asked to research this for Toledo Free Press.
No campaign donations to Kaptur from Iott were online. Two additional donations were listed on the FEC website, a $1,000 donation to Kaczala for Congress on June 22, 2004, with Iott’s employment status reported as “Self/Real Estate” and a 1997 donation of $250 to the Ohio Grocers Association Ohio Food PAC with Iott’s employment recorded as “Seaway Food Town.”
Since the FEC only has information after 1996 online, a formal public information request was made on behalf of Toledo Free Press for Iott’s political donations from 1982 to 1996. The FEC records showed one donation was made to Kaptur from Iott in 1992, which Iott has acknowledged.
Why Iott would list “soldier” and “State of Ohio” on these federal forms became one of the questions asked at the debate, sponsored by Toledo Free Press and FOX Toledo.
While Iott’s answer on the soldier issue could not be predicted, it was not anticipated that he would have no answer at all. At that point during the live debate, when Iott said he would need to see the documentation, I forwarded a screen shot of the “soldier” page to Toledo Free Press Editor in Chief Michael S. Miller, who was observing the debate from the FOX Toledo control room. Miller forwarded the e-mail from his phone to a FOX Toledo employee, who then printed it. Miller then walked the printed document to FOX Toledo reporter Shaun Hegarty, who was moderating the debate. Hegarty then presented the document to Iott.
This chain of events is not quite as nefarious as some of the rumors floating around suggest. Iott’s statement that he did not know how “soldier” and “State of Ohio” became listed on these forms necessitated further research.
Iott has made donations to political campaigns as reported by the Ohio Secretary of State (SOS). His employment status in two donations made within the same time period as the one to the RNC in 2010 are notated, “Retired.” There are several occupations listed for Iott in the SOS database for campaign contributions during the past six years.
5/20/2010 – Re-elect Justice Lanzinger ($250)
2/25/2010 – Christiansen for Judge ($200)
7/18/2008 – Strickland for Governor ($2,000)
10/18/2006 – Strickland for Governor ($1,000)
9/15/2006 – Citizens for Gardner Committee ($200)
8/31/2006 – Strickland for Governor ($500)
11/16/2005 – Citizens for Gardner Committee ($200)
10/06/2006 – Citizens with Ujvagi ($100)
8/03/2006 – Teresa Fedor for Senate ($100)
3/22/2006 – Citizens with Ujvagi ($100)
10/04/2005 – Citizens with Ujvagi ($100)
4/24/2006 – Teresa Fedor for Senate ($100)
1/28/2006 – Teresa Fedor for Senate ($50)
12/13/2005 – Teresa Fedor for Senate ($100)
4/27/2006 – Citizens for Jim Petro ($500)
9/17/2004 – Citizens for Gardner Committee ($200)
According to a staff member in the campaign finance division of the SOS, donations of more than $100 are required by law to list the employment of a donor; it is not required for campaigns to list this for donations $100 or under, though, some do provide this data.
As was reported online by Toledo Free Press on Oct. 20, Iott changed his donor information with the RNC from “soldier” to “self-employed” Oct. 19.
Iott’s political convictions can be questioned, since he has donated far more money to state Democrats than Republicans, with the Strickland for Governor campaign receiving $3,500.
If questions are raised about the many listed occupations of Iott, an occupation attributed to incumbent Marcy Kaptur should also be questioned. Research shows the accuracy of the information reported to the SOS and the FEC can be challenged.
The SOS campaign database for individual contributions reports Marcia Kaptur donated $100 on March 17, 2004, to Teresa Fedor for Senate. Marcia’s occupation is listed as a “Lobbyist.” Marcia Carolyn Kaptur is Kaptur’s birth name.
It’s not clear why or how Iott was listed as an attorney, which he isn’t, or president of Seaway Foodtown in 2006, just as it’s not clear why or how Kaptur was listed as a lobbyist. That is, however, how the information appears to have been reported by the campaigns to the Secretary of State. Since this is public record information, absent better processes in place to ensure the data is recorded properly, it’s up to candidates to know how individual contributions they make have been recorded.
The Internet makes this information just as accessible to them as it does to us.
Toledo Free Press contributor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog Glass City Jungle.