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ELC90-3

TO: James E. Melle, Counsel to the Committee to Elect Donald R. Ford Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

You have requested an advisory opinion on the following questions:

1.    May a campaign committee which is defending itself against charges brought before the Ohio Elections Commission, use campaign funds of another campaign committee involving the same candidate but a different election, to pay for the legal fees incurred in such defense?
2.  May a candidate for judicial office, or someone acting on his behalf, sol funds for a legal defense fund to pay for legal fees incurred in defending charges brought against a campaign committee before the Ohio Elections Commission?

SYLLABUS: 

1.    The funds of a campaign committee may be used to pay legal expenses incurred by another campaign committee of the same candidate in connection with defending charges against the second committee before the Ohio Elections Commission only when the first committee’s balance is transferred to the second committee and the first committee is terminated.
2 . Funds received and payments made for legal fees incurred in defending charges brought before the commission related to seeking nomination or election to public office must be reported by the candidate’s campaign committee pursuant to Ohio Revised Code section 3517. 10.