For much of the current election cycle, Republicans have been howling that Democrats are potential fraudsters who might send voters from graveyards to the polls. Witness the spate of new GOP-enacted voter-ID laws. But maybe it’s the people yelling fraud who really bear watching. How about getting cash from the dead to finance campaigns? The Republicans have taken a $5,000 check from a Cincinnati billionaire 10 months after he died.
Former Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner passed away on Oct. 17, 2011 at the age of 92. The Republican Senate Campaign Committee, a fundraising arm of the state’s legislative majority, reports it received a $5,000 political donation from Lindner on Aug. 24, 2012.
So far, the Republicans have not returned the money. Nor do they seem to have noticed its spectral source. Somehow, Lindner came back from the dead to pour money into state GOP coffers — or (much more likely) the purported donation from Carl Lindner is false. It could be fraud. It could be a mistake. It could be money laundering. There is just no way that Lindner himself could write a personal check from his grave and send it to Columbus.
Lindner, who ranked as high as 135 on Forbes' list of the wealthiest Americans, had a fortune estimated at $2.3 billion in 2006. In life, he was a major financial backer of Republican causes. He also was known for handing out small cards that carried hokey sayings. One of his cards used to carry this message: “I like to do my giving while I’m living so I’m knowing where it’s going.”
In this case, he did his giving while he wasn’t living.
Lindner was a legend in the business world and started American Financial Group. He owned the Reds for a time, and also Chiquita Brands International. Former U.S. Atty. Gen Edwin Meese III recalled in Lindner’s obit that he was “a great patriot, an outstanding entrepreneur and a generous civic leader. His support for our work in preserving constitutional government and the rule of law is deeply appreciated as an enduring legacy.”
You can look the donation for Lindner by searching here, where it shows up on the Ohio Secretary of State’s campaign finance database.