U.S. Senate Candidate Jane Timken has refused to answer questions about the health of Ohio Republican Party’s financial records during her tenure as the chairwoman of the State Central Committee.

Revelations of pressure within the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) to clean up the organization’s accounting practices and its leadership’s resistance to expand the scope of an audit of the state GOP surfaced in an exclusive story published on Thursday by The Ohio Star.

Timken, the party chairwoman from January 2017 to mid-February of this year, though, has emerged as a central figure in the accounting issues raised by two members of the GOP board’s fiscal review committee and another on the state GOP’s audit committee as Timken led the party as a 2017 report identified the lack of proper accounting procedures as well as the need for a full audit of the party financial statements that hadn’t occurred for at least 12 years at that point.

Timken, who announced in February her candidacy for the GOP nomination to succeed retiring U.S. Senator Rob Portman in 2022, has not returned email and phone messages from The Star sent through her campaign’s press officer seeking her explanation for the books now undergoing an audit for the first time in at least 16 years.

Timken has not provided explanations for two key issues raised in The Star’s Thursday story:

  • An explanation for a $1.7 million reduction in equity in the retained earnings account for the ORP made in the 2017 unaudited financial statement.
  • The failure of the ORP to conduct audits of its financial statements for the years 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Party financial documents and email exchanges shared with The Star show at least two significant and undocumented accounting errors in the 2017 and 2018 financial statements–the $1.7 million reduction in equity in 2017 and about $640,000 in accounts receivable recorded in 2018 were written off in 2021.

One document The Star claims Timken knew of broader accounting issues as far back to the year she took office in 2017, the same time her Senate campaign manager, Rob Secaur, also joined the party as its executive director.

“In 2017, Jane Timken received a devastating consulting report about the lack of adequate financial procedures and internal controls that still do not exist (emphasis added.),” said an unsigned internal ORP memo recently share with Ohio GOP’s audit and fiscal review committees about the role of certified public accounts hired to audit the 2019 and 2020.

That 2017 consultant’s report, the memo continued “was not taken seriously, explained away and locked into a cabinet at the ORP.

“The Audit Committee did not have any audit procedures performed after receiving this critical report or even hold a meeting for four years after receiving this scathing report.”

Curt Braden, an audit committee member from North Canton, who formerly chaired the three-person committee, also did not return email and phone messages seeking comment.

Another current committee member, Brad McCloud of Reynoldsburg, also did not return messages.

The third audit committee member, Laura Rosenberger of Springfield, declined to comment. But the ORP emails The Ohio Star cited show Rosenberger among the few central committee members pushing for a more expansive audit and investigation into the party’s accounting practices.

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Brian Ball is a reporter for The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Send tips to [email protected]iostar.com
Photo “Jane Timken” by Jane Timken.