Sec. of State LaRose sends a fundraising request disguised as an important letter

larose mailer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose sent out a fundraising request disguised as an important letter, confusing and upsetting voters.

Normally, Bill Joiner just drops political mail, but this one looked official. Obtained by News 5, the return address on the letter reads “Secretary of State Frank LaRose.” Below “DO NOT DISCARD OR DESTROY”, it also includes “ATTACHED RECORDED DOCUMENT”.

“I thought it might have something to do with the legitimacy of my registration to vote,” Joiner said.

Current Ohio law allows the Secretary of State to remove the registration of inactive voters. One way to tell if they are inactive is if they don’t respond to government emails.

RELATED: How to find out if your voter registration was removed in Ohio’s massive purge

But to Joiner’s surprise, it ended up being just a voter survey and a request for money from LaRose. Options range from $50 to $5,000 and also leave room for the voter to choose any amount.

“I’m appalled and I think LaRose is using his office in this way, taking advantage of his position,” he said. “It was an attempt to trick me.”

The registered Democratic voter in Cincinnati is not sure how he received the request, which was clearly intended for Republicans. News 5 spoke to six Republicans, all of whom felt the same way.

News 5 tried to speak with LaRose, but she was not available. The clerk addresses the voters in the letter and signs it.

“My name is Frank LaRose and I am Ohio’s tough, conservative secretary of state,” LaRose wrote. “My most important job is raising three daughters with my beautiful wife Lauren, but serving as Republican Secretary of State is a close second!”

The letter continues, “Having run for state office twice, I know how difficult and expensive a winning political campaign is. Your gift of $50 … will help defray expenses such as running ads for expose the terrible track record of Biden’s Democrats. awaken socialism, identify swing voters who can be persuaded to vote for conservative Republican leaders up and down the ticket, and more.”

Atiba Ellis is a nonpartisan election law expert and said LaRose technically broke no laws.

“That letter could be seen as, ‘This kind of sketchy look,’ and maybe that’s an unfair advantage here, but it’s not really illegal,” Ellis said.

In the fine print, the letter shows it’s a partnership between LaRose and the Leadership for Ohio Fund, a political group 527. Working with that group would be illegal for candidates, which is the biggest problem Ellis sees with the letter.

What makes it legal is that the secretary has not yet declared his candidacy. He is expected to join the 2024 US Senate race.

“That gets into a kind of slippery gray area of ​​is it really a fundraiser or is it trying to campaign without saying you’re trying to campaign?” Ellis added.

LaRose would need to raise funds if he decides to announce he’s running, so that money could help.

For now, everything in this letter is legal.

Follow WEWS State Reporter Morgan Trau Twitter i Facebook.

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