COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) — When Marc Dann resigned as Ohio’s Attorney General last month, it didn’t end the troubles or controversies wrought by his brief 17-month tenure as the state’s top lawyer.
Since his resignation, several investigations into his alleged behavior while AG have been initiated by various state office holders, including fellow Democrat and Ohio Secretary of State, Jennifer Brunner.
On May 30, Brunner’s office sent Dann a letter demanding explanations about more than $89,000 in questionable expenses from Dann’s campaign fund, such as a home security system, hotel rooms, tickets to a rap concert and utility bills, to name a few.
In responding on behalf of the Dann for Ohio campaign committee, Dann submitted an eight-page report in which he attempted to document various expenses challenged by Brunner.
For example, during Dann’s service as AG, $33,524.76 was spent by his campaign fund to install security equipment at his home in Liberty Township near Youngstown.
In a letter to Dann’s campaign, Brunner’s campaign-finance director referenced a section of Ohio campaign-finance law that “expressly prohibits use of campaign funds for personal or business benefit of the candidate or any other person.”
Dann’s response refutes that claim, stating the security equipment was necessitated by death threats made against him during his service as attorney general.
Despite no longer being AG, Dann contends the security is still necessary.
“The potential for physical harm to Dann and members of his family based on actions he took in his official capacity remains the same,” his response indicates.
He also says that while he “could have had the costs for these security measures paid by the state, i.e. the taxpayers, Dann chose to have his campaign committee bear the financial costs.” The response also says Dann intends on refunding his campaign committee “any actual increase in value to the home that may be realized upon future sale of the home.”
According to Brunner spokesman Jeff Ortega, the secretary of state’s campaign finance staff is reviewing the submissions made by the Dann for Ohio campaign. Once the review is completed, and there is no time frame for that, the staff could respond in one of three ways: accept Dann’s submissions, request additional information or refer the matter to the Ohio Elections Commission.