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Lawrence treasurer objects to GOP mailer

Nov. 03, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

IRONTON -- The Ohio Republican party sent out a mailer this week criticizing Lawrence County Treasurer Steve Burcham, saying thousands of tax dollars were stolen on his watch.

"I believe this mailer to be misleading and deceiving," Burcham said. "I believe this to be gutter tactics by a desperate campaign."

The ad was paid for by Bob Bennett, chairman of the Ohio Republican party.

"I don't think there's anything deceiving about it," Bennett said Friday afternoon. "He's the treasurer. It's his job to keep track of the county's (tax) money."

Burcham, a Democrat, is seeking another four-year term as county treasurer. He is opposed in Tuesday's election by Jerry Rowe, a Republican.

The mailer says two employees in the treasurer's office stole more than $25,000 while Burcham was treasurer.

"It implies the money wasn't recovered," he said. The former employees repaid the funds as part of the criminal proceedings against them.

"These individuals pleaded guilty and repaid the money. Both of them have criminal records. No one else was implicated."

"These individuals were caught using the safeguards I put in place," Burcham said. "Once we determined funds were missing, it was promptly reported to the sheriff and these people were prosecuted."

"I also intend to file a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission about this mailer," he said.

Bennett isn't concerned about any filing concerning the mailing. "The truth is an absolute defense."

He said the state party works with county party chairmen across Ohio "all the time. We can do a mailer at about half the cost of the county parties. We get a special rate. We've done 637 similar mailings across Ohio."

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