Justice Department probing campaign donations to Rep. Jim Renacci, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel

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Justice Department probing campaign donations to Rep. Jim Renacci, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel

Plain Dealer – The U.S. Department of Justice has sought records from the campaigns of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s and U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel about donations they received from employees of a North Canton direct-marketing firm called Suarez Corporation Industries.

Employees of the firm have given the campaign of Wadsworth Republican Renacci more than $80,000 during the past election cycle, and have been his biggest source of campaign cash, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Campaign finance records reviewed by The Plain Dealer indicate that eight company workers who never previously gave big political donations to federal candidates wrote $5,000 checks to Renacci’s campaign in late March and early April of 2011. On June 2, 2011, the same employees wrote $5,000 checks to Mandel’s campaign.

During the same period, two new political donors who work for Suarez Corporation Industries gave $5,000 checks to Renacci’s campaign, but not Mandel’s, and four others who did not give to money to Renacci provided $5,000 to Mandel’s campaign.

Federal election laws permit individuals to give candidates a maximum of $2,500 for their primary campaign and $2,500 for their general election race.

Wealthy political contributors occasionally try to exceed donation limits by having other people write checks to the campaigns they support, and reimbursing them. The practice is illegal.

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