OH State Treasurer, Now a Senate Candidate, Accused of Misclassifying His 2010 Campaign Staff as Independent Contractors
In Ohio, Senate incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown is accusing his challenger, State Treasurer Josh Mandel, of depriving the state of tax money by incorrectly classifying the employees of his 2010 campaign as independent contractors.
According to campaign finance disclosures analyzed by Alex Seitz-Wald of Salon, Mandel misclassified at least 9 of his senior staffers in order to forgo paying payroll taxes to the state. While misclassifiying workers in any situation is wrong, the irony of Mandel’s maneuver as State Treasurer is unmistakable:
“Only Josh Mandel would run for the office of Ohio Treasurer while shorting the Ohio Treasury by deliberately not paying taxes on his campaign employees, and this kind of stunning negligence appears to have been an unfortunate preview for how little he would care about his job once elected, as Mandel blew off every single meeting of the state investment board he chairs during his first year in office. Josh Mandel is nothing more than a politician who can’t be trusted and owes Ohioans an explanation as well as whatever taxes and fees he avoided,”spokesman Justin Barasky said in a statement.”
For a conservative, Mandell’s sure has a liberal definition of “employee.” The supposed independent contractors went by official campaign titles in campaign literature, according to Salon:
Mandel’s campaign paid out at least $260,000 in compensation during his 2010 campaign for which he did not pay payroll taxes. Michael Lord was paid $84,000 for “political consulting,” according to state campaign finance disclosures, though he was identified as “political director” on the campaign’s website and as “campaign manager” in multiple press reports and on the candidate’s Facebook page. He also had a campaign email address. Scott Guthrie was paid $107,000, also for “consulting,” along with more than $13,000 in reimbursements. He was listed on the campaign website as “Finance Director” and also had a campaign email address. Likewise for spokesman Joseph Aquilino, who was paid $28,250 for “political consulting” and given more than $14,000 in reimbursements. Aquilino, who was a legislative aide to Mandel in the Ohio
House, was referred to a spokesperson or political director in numerous press reports.
The same pattern holds true for at least six other aides who were paid smaller amounts. Incidentally, many of these same people were later hired by Mandel after he won, despite having questionable qualifications.
Read Seitz-Wald’s piece in its entirety via Salon.