CINCINNATI (FOX19) - An occasional volunteer with Congressman Steve Chabot’s campaign said he had no idea he was listed as the treasurer in federal election finance records until he read it in media reports, according to a statement he issued through his attorney Monday.
“I am not now, nor have I ever been, the treasurer of the Steve Chabot for Congress campaign,” said James Schwartz Sr. of Bridgetown in the statement to FOX19 NOW.
“I have never served the campaign in any official capacity, including as treasurer, at any time. I played no role in the campaign other than as an occasional volunteer. I had no knowledge of the use of my name on any campaign documents or filings until recent reports.”
Online records show he has been listed as treasurer for the past several years, since 2011.
His attorney declined further comment.
“For now, our comments will be limited to what is in the written statement,” said the attorney, Dan McCarthy.
Chabot’s campaign attorney announced Friday the campaign finances are undergoing a “thorough audit.” That disclosure came two days after the attorney, Mark Braden, said the veteran West Side Republican politician’s campaign appears to be the victim of a financial crime.
Schwartz Sr’s son, Jamie Schwartz, is the longtime campaign manager for Chabot and former aide.
Jamie Schwartz’s cell phone has been disconnected since last week and we have been unable to reach him for comment. He has not responded to messages for comment, and his attorney has not returned a call.
He was president of a political strategy firm called Fountain Square Group that abruptly shut down early last week. The firm’s Facebook page also has been taken down.
The Federal Election Commission sent Chabot’s campaign treasurer a letter late last month seeking details about an amended campaign finance report showing an increase of receipts totaling more than $100,000.
The Aug. 27 letter to the campaign’s treasurer, Jim Schwartz, from the FEC noted that an amended report filed by Chabot’s campaign showed a $123,625.72 increase and asked Schwartz to clarify why the money wasn’t originally disclosed.
A response is due Oct. 1.
“Failure to adequately respond by the response date noted above could result in an audit or enforcement action,” the letter states.
The FEC addressed letters to James Schmidtz Sr. and Jim Schwartz at Chabot’s Harrison Avenue office for at least five years between 2013-2018, records show.
The most recent one, was mailed to Jim Schwartz at Fountain Square Group’s address on Findlay Street.
The FEC can’t comment on any kinds of investigations as a matter of standard practice, agency spokesman Miles Martin has told FOX19 NOW.
The FEC has not received any response yet from Chabot’s campaign, he has said.
Braden said in a statement to FOX19 NOW Monday that as far as the campaign was aware, "James Schwartz Sr. has been the treasurer since 2011 and Jamie Schwartz managed the compliance work with his review and approval. We are reaching out to the FEC to clarify this issue.
“Unfortunately, the congressman cannot do interviews to discuss this matter because there is an ongoing investigation.”
A spokesman for the FBI Cincinnati said last week and again Monday as a matter of policy they cannot confirm or deny the existence of potential investigation.