In August, Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office referred a complaint about Vitale’s campaign account to the Ohio Elections Commission. The full commission is scheduled to hold a hearing April 8 on five allegations of campaign finance violations, including failed to keep a strict account of all contributions; failed to disclose all expenditures above $25; and didn’t deposit all contributions received into an account separate from a personal or business account.
Ohio Elections Commission Director Phil Richter said the violations carry fines of up to $1,000, plus $100 to $500 a day for each day a deadline was missed. The commission also has the ability to refer matters to a county prosecutor for consideration.
Vitale has been an outspoken critic of public health orders, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Mike DeWine.
In May, Vitale made national news when he said he wouldn’t wear a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19 because it would cover “the image and likeness of God.” Last year, he pushed back against resolutions that would declare racism a public health crisis. Vitale said in a Facebook post that he is “darker” than most members of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and was made fun of growing up, including being called a “greasy Italian.”