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IN THE JOINT LEGISI-ATIVE ETHICS COMMITTEE

In re: State Representative Candice Keller of the 53.d Ohio House District

AFFIDAVIT OF COMPI-AINT
STATE OF OHIO \t
) ss.
COUNTT OF BUTLER )

I, Brian R. Hester, Esq., Executive Committee Chair of the Butler County Democratic
Party, being first duly sworn, depose and say that:

1. I am over rB years old and competent to testify to the matters contained in the
Affidavit and authorized to make this Affidavit on behalf of the Butler County
Democratic Party as one of its elected officers.
z. This Affidavit is given for the purpose of inducing for the Joint Legislative Ethics
Committee to open an investigation into the matters described herein, pursuant
to R.C. roz.o6.
3. Prior to being elected Executive Committee Chair of the Butler Democratic Party
in June zor8, I served as its Communication Director since the fall of zor5.
4. Part of my responsibilities as the Communications Director was to review
publicly available reports about the campaign finances and personal financial
disclosures of elected officials in Butler County who are required to file such
reports.
S. Candice Keller is presently a State Representative representing the 53ra House
District in the Ohio House of Representatives, a district that stretches across
Butler County.
6. Because of my research of State Representative Keller, I am familiar that both
before she took public office and since, Keller has serued as the Executive
Director of the Community Pregnancy Center ("Keller's organization") and has
received a regular salary for that position.
7. To the best of my knowledge, Representative Keller has no professional medical
background.
B. I have, on more than one occasion, reviewed the financial disclosure forms filed
by State Rep. Keller with this committee from zor5 until this year. True and
accurate copies of which are collectively attached, labeled and incorporated by
reference collectively as Exhibit A.
9. According to Exhibit A, Keller has reported receiving a salary between $5o,ooo
and $gq.ggg from Keller's organization during the entirety of these reporting
periods in addition to a similar separate salary she has drawn as an elected state
legislator.
ro.I have no reason to think Keller has stopped receiving financial compensation in
her continued role as Executive Director of her organization.
tr. Keller's organization is operated as a non-profit charitable organization under
federal taxation laws.
rz. On or about July z, 2otg,I became aware of a press release issued by the Ohio
Democratic Party wherein State Party Chair David Pepper highlighted Rep.
Keller's co-sponsorship of HB 297, legislation that would give a 5o% refundable
state income tax credit to donors to "crisis pregnancy centers" in Ohio like the
one she oversees. I received the press release both via email directly from the
state par[y and also saw it on its social media channels.
13. Upon seeing the press release, I pulled the text of HB 297 and confirmed that
Keller not only co-cosponsored it but the tax credit would only benefit donors to
organizations such as Kelier's (tax exempt Sor(c) organizations) and explicitly
excludes similar donations to non-profit hospitals, nursing homes, or residential
care facilities.
r4.I later confirmed Keller's organization's status as a tax exempt Sor(c)
organization through the IRS's website which allows members of the public to
search and dor,rmload copies of federal charitable organizations Form 99o filings
("Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax.")
r5. On July 6, 2otg,I reviewed copies of Keller's organization's Form 99o filings
from zo16 and zor7, the only reporting periods the IRS' website provided. True
and accurate copies of the zo16 Form 99o filing of Keller's organization is
attached and hereby incorporated by reference as "Exhibit 8." The zotT Form
99o filing is attached and hereby incorporated by reference as "Exhibit C."
16. Upon reviewing Exhibits B and C, I learned that Keller's organization ran a deficit
in all three calendar years in which these reports provided financial data.
17. I also learned from these reports that Keller's organization saw a $98,o48 drop in
revenue in zor7. And at the same time, her board decided to cut her salary by
$B,ooB a year.
rB. Despite the reduction in Keller's salary in zor7, she still received nearly a dollar
for every $g of revenue her organization received that year.
r9. Exhibits B & C confirm that Keller's organization is a 5or(c)(3) organization, and
therefore, would be a primary financial beneficiary under HB z9Z if it were
enacted into law.
zo.By co-sponsoring HB zgT,Keller used her office in an official capacity to signal
her public support for it and to her allied colleagues in the legislature of her
desire to see the General Assembly pass it.
zr. Given the consistent recent public reported financial deficits, its substantial
decline in revenue in aor7, and resulting need to substantially cut Keller's
personal salary in zor7, Keller's decision to co-sponsor HB zg7 could be
motivated by a personal financial interest to protect her salary from further
reduction or perhaps regain the income she lost in its reduction by supporting
legislation to give her organization additional favorable tax treatment to its
donors to stimulate its declining revenues.
zz. Such an act by Keller, if true, would constitute a violation of Ohio's ethic statutes,
including, but not limited to, Ohio Revised Code Section roz.o3(D). Based on the
foregoing, affiant has good cause to conclude that a referral to this committee for
investigation of potential ethics law violations is warranted to protect the
integrity and public reputation of the Ohio General Assembly.
z3.In response to public reporting of Keller's questionable actions regarding this
matter, Representative Keller has publicly stated that she intends to refrain from
taking any further legislative action in supporl of HB 297. Such a statement
constitutes an admission of her conflict of interest in the legislation.

FURTHER AFFIANT SA\'ETH NAUGHT.

I, Brian R. Hester, Esq., Executive Chair of the Butler County Democratic Party
and on its behalf, swear and affirm that I have read this instrument, am
authorized to execute it on behalf of the Butler County Democratic Party, and, to
the best of my personal knowledge and belief, the facts and statements contained
herein are true, accurate, and compiete under the penalty of pedury.

'Ar* {1$&
Brian R. Hester, Esq. (ooZgZSz)
Butler County Democratic Party
Executive Committee Chair on its behalf
224-226 ParkAvenue
Hamilton, OH 45or3
(SrS) 896-5zor

STATE OF OHIO )
) ss.
COUNTY OF BUTLER )
Sworn to or affirmed and subscribed before me bv Brian R. Hester, Executive
Committee Chair of the Butler Democratic Party, on its behalf on this 7- day of July,
2OL9.

Mv commission expires: Dpo


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