The chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party has accused Democrat John Billis of a double standard for failing to file an election complaint against House Minority Leader Jack Ford of Toledo.

Patrick Kriner, who became party chairman in April, said he has received a copy of an invitation to a fundraiser earlier this year for Mr. Ford that was mailed to the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation office in Columbus.

In January, Mr. Billis, a Sylvania city councilman who is running against state Rep. Lynn Olman (R., Maumee), filed an election complaint against Mr. Olman after it was revealed that Mr. Olman asked state employees who are Statehouse lobbyists to contribute to his re-election campaign.

State law prohibits anyone from soliciting a contribution from public employees while they are working or in an area of a public building where work is done.

By a 3-3 vote, the state Elections Commission on Feb. 10 dismissed the complaint. Mr. Olman said a 22-year-old aide decided to impress him by mailing a fundraising letter to all lobbyists registered by the state. Mr. Olman said neither he nor the aide were aware that state departments had lobbyists.

Mr. Ford, who is running unopposed, yesterday said he didn't know if his re-election campaign sent the fund-raising letter to a state office.

"I don't know how it could happen, unless somebody puts them out without any checking," Mr. Ford said.

Mr. Kriner questioned why Mr. Billis has not filed an elections complaint against Mr. Ford. Mr. Kriner recently went to Mr. Billis' home to drop off a copy of the Ford fundraising invitation and the envelope showing it was mailed to the Bureau of Workers' Compensation. When Mr. Kriner raised the issue later at a downtown Sylvania event, he said Mr. Billis replied: "You guys take care of your side and I will take care of mine."

Mr. Billis said he didn't recall making the statement.

"I have all I can handle as the underdog candidate in this race and questioning the integrity of my opponent," he said.

Mr. Kriner said Mr. Billis should not hold a double standard. "If John is truly a watchdog on political issues, then he needs to do that across the board." Mr. Kriner said.

When asked about Mr. Kriner's charge that Mr. Billis should have filed an elections complaint against him, Mr. Ford replied: "I don't think you will see a Democrat filing complaints about Democrats."

But Mr. Ford said a change in state law may be warranted.

"The way the law is drafted, if you solicit the wrong person you are open to charges. ... Sometimes you have people soliciting for you that you don't even know about. What we might need is a disclaimer that says 'If you are a lobbyist for the state, please ignore this solicitation,'" Mr. Ford said.

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