Monday, November 1, 2010





You can tell on viewing the accompanying video that James N. (Jamie) Walters (a Jackson Township trustee is astonished that someone in the audience of the Canton Area League of Women Voters forum (October 27, 2010) for commissioner candidates would ask about the Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case decided on January 21, 2010.

And for good reason.  For he knew what only the questioner apparently knew and what Walters himself knew but failed to reveal.

Walters had to be thinking to himself, "OMG, someone has checked my campaign finance report filed on October 21st."

For "bigger than life itself" on the report is a $2,500 contribution from the Citizens United Political Victory Fund made to the Walters campaign in September of this year.

But he didn't do a disclaimer before answering the question on the case.  Why not?  Especially for a man who says he is out to repair trust in county government!

Surely, he also had to be thinking to himself that someone like the SCPR would also (yours truly did not pose the question at the LWV forum) check the candidates campaign finance reports; he had to surmise to himself.  Was he foolhardy enough to think he could bluff his way through his failure to disclose during the LWV forum?  Would a "I forgot" be credible now?

Weren't Stark County voters entitled to a Walters' moment of transparency of letting us know that he liked the Citizens United result that struck down legislative prohibitions on corporation funded advertising AFTER he received $2,500 from the organization's political action committee (PAC).  It could be that he was in favor of the outcome before it came down from SCOTUS, but how will we ever know for sure?

One other thing.  Look at the mission of the Citizens United Political Victory Fund:

Goal:  "Its [Citizens United Political Victory Fund] mission is to support conservative candidates running for federal office ... ."  Hmm?  A $2,500 contribution to a Stark County commissioner race?


According to Walters' pre-general campaign finance report (October 21, 2010) he received a total of $17,195 for the reporting period.

Of the $17,195 came $10,000 (58%) came from one person and that person is not even from Stark County.  Charles Misfud is his name and he lives in Dublin and runs a law firm in Columbus. 

Moreover, when you combine the $2,500 from Citizens United (Washington, DC), $1,000 from the Realtors PAC (Columbus) and $1,000 from the Timken Company Good Government fund eighty-five percent (yes, folks; that 85%) came from big contributors ("big," that is, for a county commissioner candidate) and 79% came from outside Stark County.

Why would non-Stark Countians be putting such big money into a Stark County race?  Doesn't that raise eyebrows?

Remember the local flap when contributions from Jimmy Dimora and Frank Russo and others from Cuyahoga County showed up on Stark County Auditor Kim Perez's campaign report and Canton Mayor William J. Healy's campaign finance report a couple of years ago?

There were questions aplenty (and rightly so) that have never have given a satisfactory explanation by Perez and Healy.  Do not the lack of plausible answers leave a lingering sense of distrust with Perez and Healy in the public mind?

Mifsud is known (check his name on the Ohio Secretary of State website) to be a bigtime Republican contributor to this day.

His name came up in a Columbus Dispatch story by James Nash, to wit:  Debt Collectors good to Petro, December 22, 2005.

Here is an excerpt from the Dispatch piece:
Attorney General Jim Petro boasts that he has helped the state recover millions in unpaid debts by unleashing an aggressive and growing cadre of lawyers on scofflaws.
Since he took office in 2003, Petro says, he has helped agencies recover $270 million a year in debts, up from $125 million under predecessor Betty D. Montgomery, now the state auditor.
But his reliance on outside lawyers to go after bad debts also has benefited someone else: Petro himself
A Dispatch computer analysis of the 88 debt-collection attorneys paid by Petro's office this year shows that 73 have donated to Petro's campaigns.
Many of the lawyers are among Petro's most generous contributors. Charles Mifsud, son of former Gov. George V. Voinovich's chief of staff, the late Paul Mifsud, is the largest single recipient of fees:  $1.4 million for collecting debts. Charles Mifsud has given $2,050 to Petro's campaigns, including $1,000 last December:  the maximum allowed by law. Mifsud also has contributed $38,000 to a fund for statewide Republican candidates. He did not return a call for comment.
So it seems to the SCPR that Walters has some questions to answer about why Charles Misfud (of the Columbus area) would be so interested in a Stark County commissioner campaign?

The Report has tried to reach Walters for comment, but has been unable to do so.


Obviously, Jane Vignos' contribution pales into insignificance when compared to the Citizens United matter and the Misfud et al large contributions. But Walters has been hammering away at "those" who imposed the 0.50 sales tax on Stark Countians in December, 2008.  Isn't he being just a tad hypocritical in accepting the Vignos contribution?  After all, she was one of three who voted to "impose" the tax.  Wasn't imposition of the tax part of his basis for his "you can't trust" county government? 


Tom Bernabei has been a local government attorney in Stark County for 24 years.  And it shows on his pre-general election campaign finance report.

Scads of Stark County lawyers, many of whom have either been or are public officials populate the Bernabei campaign finance list.

Moreover, it is surprising how many of the Bernabei contributors are Republicans.

Bernabei is widely respected in Stark County political and government circles.  

Here is Bernabei's list of contributors.  It is a virutal "Who's Who" of local political and government figures, many of who are lawyers.  

How will that set with the Stark County voters?

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