Thursday, June 10, 2004

Campaign finance targets include speaker, lobbyist

By Jim Siegel
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

COLUMBUS - Secretary of State Ken Blackwell issued three subpoenas this week as part of his investigation into the campaign finance activities of House Speaker Larry Householder and former staffers.

Blackwell's office on Tuesday ordered Householder and J. Matthew Yuskewich, treasurer of the Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee, to turn over information related to committee financial transactions and a $10,000 payment made to fund-raiser Kyle Sisk through a vendor.

A third subpoena went to lobbyist Andy Herf of the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio, ordering him to testify regarding a February Cleveland Plain Dealer story that suggested his organization had to donate $80,000 to House Republicans to avoid higher taxes on beer and wine during a budget shortfall.

Craig Calcaterra, a Columbus attorney representing Householder, said he has not seen the subpoena and declined comment on its content.

The subpoenas are the latest in an increasingly complex investigation into fund-raising activities of Householder and his top aides, Sisk and Brett Buerck, who had their contracts terminated by the House Republican Caucus last week.

The investigation began after comments by Auditor Betty Montgomery, who said Sisk was pressuring her contributors to also give to Attorney General Jim Petro.

Blackwell, Montgomery and Petro all plan to run for governor in 2006.

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