7706 State Route 703 in Celina, Ohio is the home of State Senator Keith Faber’s Law Firm. It’s also his campaign office. And the property is owned by Faber’s company, JMKA LLC.
A review of Faber’s campaign expenditure reports and his Financial Disclosure forms for the past 7 years reveals that Faber’s campaign has paid $38,625.00 in rent to JMKA LLC since 2005 and some, if not all, of that money has gone right back to Faber in the form of “Rental Income”.
JMKA was formed in November, 2004 by Keith Faber and he appears to the be the sole owner. The company was approved for a mortgage in January, 2005 to buy the state street property and Faber’s campaign began paying $500.00 in monthly rent to JMKA September of that same year.
While it’s not illegal, or even that unusual, for a campaign to rent office space from a friend or family member, campaign offices are typically rented during campaign season. Faber, however, has continued to pay himself rent, nonstop, for over seven years. His campaign finance reports also show that no salary has been paid to any campaign staff during this time, except for the occasional consultant.
As a matter of fact, the only person who appears to be getting regular payments from the campaign is Faber.
In addition to the rent payments, the campaign reimbursed Faber’s law firm $7,954.17 for everything from OSU Tickets to flags and balloons while Faber himself has been reimbursed for $62,867 in expensessince 2003, primarily for food and travel costs. Faber racked up $9,199 in misc travel costs. $9,464 in food and entertainment costs. $8,776 in misc. costs – including payment of his credit card bill. And $400 for an expense simply labeled “ALEC”.
The biggest category of expenses was the $22,292 he received for “mileage” from 2006 to 2011. During the same period he claimed $19,266 in mileage reimbursements from the House and Senate. That’s enough to buy two brand cars – like the Ohio-made Chevy Cruze (MSRP $16,800) – and still have money left over for gas.
Faber was also reimbursed for travel outside of Ohio, receiving nearly eight thousand dollars in expense reimbursements related to out-of-state conferences with The National Conference of Insurance Legislators and National Council of Legislators from Gaming States in Las Vegas, NV, Hollywood, FL and and Isle of Palms, SC.
Faber has received over $1.75 Million in campaign donations since 2003, the biggest ones coming from the usual suspects – guys like David Brennan, William Lager, Les Wexner and Wayne Boich – but the majority of the money – over $1 Million – was sent right back to state party groups like the Ohio Republican Campaign Committee and the Ohio Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
The top five recipients of payments from Faber’s campaign have been committees associated with the Ohio Republican Party. Number 6 and 7 are Keith Faber and JMKA, his real estate company.
While it’s unlikely anyone is going to question Faber’s spending as illegal, it looks really bad. If you donate your hard-earned money to a political candidate you’d like to know they are using it for actual campaign expenses and not for trips to Vegas, expensive meals and mileage on their personal vehicle.
It’s also unlikely anyone is really going to complain. For Faber – like so many other Ohio Republicans in safe, noncompetitive districts – reelection is almost guaranteed, so there’s plenty of extra money left over to spend. With Faber, that means funneling most of the money back to the Ohio Republican Party and using the rest to pay himself lots of reimbursements and rent.