CLEVELAND, Ohio – Ed FitzGerald has enlisted Cuyahoga County’s inspector general to examine his political donor lists – a practice that critics of the county executive and Democratic candidate for governor believe is an improper use of taxpayer dollars.
Republicans see the frequent reviews as a campaign service performed exclusively and free of charge for FitzGerald by his handpicked investigator on county time.
Byrd said her office typically receives one request a week from FitzGerald’s treasurer, Jeffrey Ruppert. From September 2013 through January 2014, the campaign asked the inspector general to review at least 17 lists totaling hundreds of donations…
It’s always necessary to go through the list of people who have donated money to you, so that you can weed out and return any donations that are illegal. However, campaigns are responsible for doing this themselves.
Ed Fitzgerald thought it was proper to have a county employee do it for him on county time. He’s wrong.
And here’s the problem for Fitzgerald: After a massive county corruption scandal that resulted in the convictions of dozens of former county workers, Ed Fitzgerald has been claiming that he cleaned up Cuyahoga County.
Ed has used his county office improperly for his own personal benefit.
Also discovered is that when Fitzgerald’s inpector general finished her report on the illegal $1000 donation to his campaign last year, she allowed the Fitzgerald campaign to change statements they had made in the report.
The emails obtained by the Ohio GOP raised other questions about the relationship and last year’s investigation. Byrd allowed FitzGerald’s campaign treasurer and another aide to review and amend statements they made during their interviews, records show.
The changes weren’t substantial, but one kept an awkward statement from appearing in Byrd’s final 17-page report. According to the inspector general’s notes, Sarah Slavik, then FitzGerald’s finance director, recalled noticing the donation in question soon after it arrived because, “at the time,” the campaign “was not receiving $1,000 contributions.”
Slavik asked Byrd via email to strike that statement, and records show that the inspector general sought to follow up by telephone.
So, you had the inspector investigating the campaign, but let the campaign review and amend the contents of the report? And then edited the report per the campaigns direction?
No, that isn’t unscrupulous or anything.
This is just the latest news that destroys the notion that Ed Fitzgerald has come into Cuyahoga County government and cleaned it up, like his campaign desperately wants you to believe.