128 days. That is how late Josh Mandel is in filing his personal financial disclosure forms with the United State Senate. Senate rules require every candidate who declares to run for a Senate seat must file their disclosure forms within 30 days of doing so. Back in April Mandel declared his candidacy for Sherrod Brown’s Senate seat and he we are almost five months later and he has still yet to file them.

While this probably isn’t news to people who frequent this blog it seems to be brand spanking new to newspapers around the state. Just this weekend the Akron Beacon Journal ran a scathing editorial taking young Josh Mandel to task for failing to be in compliance with even the most minimal of requirements to run for Senate. This criticism of Mandel must have struck a nerve with the campaign because out of the blue comes the first explanation from the campaign on what is taking so long. The answer: my wife’s finances are too complicated.

Questions about the financial assets of Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel’s wife are why he is 128 days late filing a federal disclosure form required of U.S. Senate candidates.

Ilana Shafran Mandel, his wife, is related to the Ratner family, which has major financial interests in Forest City Enterprises, a leading national development firm based in Cleveland.

Yes, the reason Mandel hasn’t filed yet with the Senate is because his wife’s finances are just so complicated that the brain trust at the Mandel campaign just can’t figure them out.

This would almost be a plausibly excuse if not for the fact that every other person in the United States Senate has to fill these forms out for themselves and their spouses. Granted, Mandel’s wife is related to a very well do to family in Cleveland but seeing how John Kerry married a ketchup heiress and he doesn’t seem to have a problem filing these things out Mandel shouldn’t be having this much trouble.

Which begs the question, if it isn’t that the form is too complicated to file in a reasonable time, what exactly is the problem here? Could it be that Mandel is somehow embarrased by the deep connections his wife’s family has had to Democratic candidates in the past. According to the Plain Dealer these connections are well known and usually come in the form of writing checks.

The Ratner family meantime continues its political benevolence. Records of federal campaign contributions to politicians by executives and employees of Forest City — a list dominated by Ratners — show that since 2005, Republican U.S. Rep Steve LaTourette has been the single biggest recipient, at $113,125. But close behind were contributions to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, at $109,650. That doesn’t include contributions from spouses who do not work for Forest City.

Or is there something more problematic here? Since Mandel married Mrs. Ilana Shafran Mandel not once has he disclosed any source of income related to either her or Forest City, the company her family is part owner of. If he was to file a disclosure form with the Senate that included new sources of income coming from either her, Forest City, or some other entity related to Forest City, he would probably have some explaining to do.

The bigger problem is this: Josh Mandel is 128 days late in filing his financial disclosure form with the United States Senate. He is clearly in violation of the law. In fact, he admits so in the Dispatch article where he states he is going to pay the $200 penalty for being late.  Already he has shown his willingness to bend ethical norms during his campaign and shown questionable decision making. Here he is breaking the law and seems to have no problem doing so. At what point do we have to start wondering what rule Josh Mandel isn’t willing to break to get what he wants?

 

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