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Published: Thursday, July 12, 2018 @ 4:32 PM
— Top Central State University administrators personally warned Theresa Gasper against implying the school endorsed her Democratic congressional campaign prior to her staff including the school’s name and the name of its president in a campaign fundraiser invitation, the Dayton Daily News found in a review of public records.
Federal tax code prohibits universities from endorsing candidates for political office, prompting worries among local school officials that Gasper’s campaign material featuring their trademarked names could be mistaken as an illegal endorsement.
Gasper did not personally sign off on the invitations featuring the names of the five local schools, said Shu-Yen Wei, her campaign manager. Wei blamed a “formatting error” for the invitation including the schools’ names.
Central State, Wright State University, Sinclair Community College and the University of Dayton each demanded Gasper remove their trademarked name from her fundraising material. An attorney for Antioch University, which was included on the invite, did not respond to the newspaper’s request for information.
Gasper’s fundraiser invitation identified a “Host Committee,” which subdivided individual Gasper supporters by the university or college where they work. Included on the list was Central State President Cynthia Jackson-Hammond.
In a cease and desist letter, Central State told Gasper’s campaign that Jackson-Hammond “did not authorize the use of her name or the name of Central State University to be used for this invitation or any other campaign documents or activities.”
“The restrictions of implied or real endorsements were stated to Ms. Gasper in prior conversations by several senior level administrators,” wrote Laura Wilson, Central State’s general counsel.
Wei said including Jackson-Hammond’s name on the invitations was a mistake.
“Honestly, it was a mistake that her name was on there,” Wei told the Daily News. “It was a mistake on the part of campaign staff … we took it off right away when we found out.”
The newspaper used Ohio’s public records law to obtain copies of the communication between the three public schools and Gasper’s campaign. The records show concerns about the campaign invitation reached the president of each university.
“You must immediately remove Wright State University’s name from any association with a ‘Host Committee’ in any solicitation for political fundraising on your behalf as it constitutes a violation of state and federal laws governing a prohibition on political activity by a state university and activity inconsistent with the university’s IRS government non-profit status classification,” wrote Larry Chan, the school’s general counsel, in a letter to Gasper.
Ohio Assistant Attorney General Lauren Ross, who represents Sinclair, told Wei, “Sinclair Community College is a public institution of higher education and a political subdivision of the state of Ohio and is prohibited by state and federal law from engaging in partisan political activity, including endorsing or providing financial support to any political candidate.”
Gasper’s opponent, U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, has pledged to file a complaint against her with the Federal Elections Commission, claiming she risked the region losing “millions” in federal dollars given to local schools. Experts interviewed by the newspaper said such a complaint would be likely unfruitful due to the commission’s partisan gridlock.
Contact this reporter at 937-259-2086 or email Will.Garbe@coxinc.com.
Published: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 3:37 AM
TODAY: A beautiful morning with cooler temperatures around 60 degrees and some northern spots in the 50s. Dew points stay in the 50s today, meaning a comfortable air mass is in place. Overall, sunshine and a few clouds for the day with highs reaching in the low 80s, which is close to normal.
THURSDAY: Another beautiful morning with it being quiet and cool. Sunny skies for the afternoon as temperatures climb to the middle 80s. Clouds increase at night.
FRIDAY: Warm and muggy conditions return with highs in the low 80s. Scattered showers and storms develop and we could see stronger winds and heavy rain towards evening.
SATURDAY: Muggy with more active weather for the day. It’ll be partly to mostly cloudy as highs peak in the low 80s. Some afternoon showers and storms redevelop, but activity will taper off at night.
SUNDAY: Some dry time early with partly to mostly cloudy skies. Scattered showers and storms redevelop again in the late afternoon/evening. High reach near 80 degrees.
Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 3:19 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 2:36 AM
Overnight: A comfortable night in the forecast with clear skies and temperatures dropping to around 60 degrees by morning.
Wednesday: Lots of sunshine is expected with the humidity remaining low. It will be pleasantly warm with highs in the lower 80s.
Thursday: A warmer day is expected with some high clouds around mixed with sunshine. Highs will rebound into the middle 80s.
Friday: Clouds will be on the increase through the day with a chance for showers and storms developing by late afternoon. Highs will be in the middle 80s with humidity on the rise.
Saturday: Numerous showers and storms are expected, especially during the afternoon and early evening. One or two stronger storms will be possible. Highs will be in the lower 80s.
Published: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 @ 3:27 AM
Updated: Wednesday, July 18, 2018 @ 1:35 AM
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Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 @ 4:17 PM
— When you send your DNA test off to learn about your ancestry, you might not be the only one interested in seeing the results.
News Center 7 investigates how companies can disclose your private genetic information, and what you need to know before you have it tested, Thursday beginning at 5 p.m. on News Center 7.