FBI agents found that Luckie used his campaign account between 2006 and 2012 to write $9,825 in checks to himself, make 169 cash withdrawals totaling $19,000 and conduct 800 debit card transactions totaling almost $40,000. The spending sprees included ATM withdrawals at casinos, a payment on a home equity line of credit, and purchases at Morris Home Furnishings, Weber Jewelers, Nordstrom, Lowe’s, Babies R Us and other retailers.
Although the Luckie case exposed weaknesses in Ohio’s campaign finance system, no legal changes have been made to directly prevent such schemes.
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, a Republican, reiterated his comments made three years ago that requiring campaign treasurers to attach bank statements would help detect such fraud. “If the report says there is $100,000 in the account and the bank statement says there is $6,000, then that would tip you off that there might be a problem,” O’Brien said.
Josh Eck, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said: “The secretary continues to believe it would be useful for transparency purposes to have bank statements from campaign accounts to help confirm the legitimacy of their spending. It could both serve as a deterrent as well as make sure there isn’t a delay in identifying nefarious campaign practices.”
Eck added that many campaigns voluntarily submit the documentation, especially if the campaigns use debit cards for transactions.
In the years since Luckie’s conviction, lawmakers have not acted to change reporting requirements. But Ohio House spokesman Brad Miller said pending legislation, if passed into law, would take away a public official’s pension if he or she were convicted of certain criminal offenses.
Luckie came to the FBI’s attention during an investigation into then state representative Carlton Weddington, a Columbus Democrat. He pleaded guilty to bribery and ethics charges and served time in prison. During the course of the investigation, the FBI public corruption squad found a $300 contribution to Luckie’s campaign account reported by a pay day lending political action committee but not reported by Luckie.
Luckie spent 10 years on the Dayton school board before he was appointed to the 39th District Ohio House seat in November 2006. He won election in 2008 and again in 2010 by wide margins and seemed to be a shoo-in for another two-year term when the criminal investigation came to light and his fellow Democrats urged him to withdraw from the race. The district represents most of the city of Dayton.
He is banned from running for or holding elective office for five years and faces three years of post-release probation.