Nino Vitale campaign corrects report that claimed contribution from Black caucus

Nino Vitale
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Nino Vitale

State Rep. Nino Vitale, who raised eyebrows by claiming he is “darker” than many Black legislators, reported that the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus donated $2,000 to his campaign fund last year.

The caucus said Vitale’s report is false.

“We have never contributed to Mr. Vitale’s campaign and have no plans of doing so in the future. We are working with our campaign finance attorney now to have the false claim removed,” said Tony Bishop, executive director for the OLBC.

Late Tuesday Vitale amended his report to say the $2,000 came from another political organization, a Secretary of State spokesman said.

Vitale, R-Urbana, did not respond to messages seeking comment.

ExploreSecretary of State files case against state Rep. Nino Vitale

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.”

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