Executives at 10 of the 17 manufacturing companies whose workers won a new award established by Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel have made campaign contributions to GOP candidates, including Mandel.
An Associated Press review finds Mandel's re-election campaign received the donations shortly after the skilled-trades employees were recognized. The findings raise questions about whether Mandel, who is facing Democratic state representative Connie Pillich this fall, is using the award to reward and attract political contributors. Mandel's office says the program recognizes only workers, and is intended to raise their profile and encourage pursuit of manufacturing careers. Award recipients are mostly Democrats or independents. The Companies include Lima-based American Trim, Youngstown-based Taylor-Winfield Technologies and Toledo Metal Spinning.