Elections panel to hear Leneghan case

By Dustin Ensinger

May 9, 2014

Dustin Ensinger

Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan breezed to victory in her Delaware County Republican Party Central Committee race on Tuesday, but she had a tougher time in front of an Ohio Election Commission panel the day prior.

The panel found that there is probable cause to believe that Leneghan falsely claimed in campaign literature to be endorsed by Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion organization.

The organization sent her a cease and desist letter April 30 asking her to stop campaigning as an “Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed candidate.”

The matter will move forward to be heard by the full Ohio Elections Commission. A hearing date has not been scheduled.

Phil Richter, executive director of the commission, said if the commission finds a violation, it could refer the matter for prosecution.

“The commission could also dismiss the case or find that there was no violation,” he said.

Leneghan believes the case should have already been dismissed.

She said she accidentally swapped out “right to” with “pro” on a handful of literature pieces and immediately corrected the error once she was made aware of it.

“One hundred times out of a 100, a case like mine in front of the Ohio Election Commission is dismissed,” she said, adding that she believes the case is politically motivated.

“It was clear in my mind that the Ohio Election Commission had been given their marching orders before I arrived,” she said. “I believe that everyone of those people sitting at that table knew what they were doing.”

Leneghan called the move an assault on her political career and bank account.

“Isn’t it a shame that a private citizen can’t run for a volunteer position?” she asked.

Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.