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Hearing set for Johnson, Wilson complaints

September 27, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

ST. CLAIRSVILLE - U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, and former Congressman Charles Wilson both go before the Ohio Elections Commission next week to answer charges each lied about their opponent in advertising and public statements.

A commission panel ruled Thursday there was probable cause to hear Wilson's complaint against Johnson before the full board. The decision came a week after the panel decided probable cause in a Johnson complaint against Wilson.

A hearing to address complaints from both candidates is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 4, according to Johnson's campaign manager Mark Weaver.

Johnson and Wilson, a Democrat, are nominees for Ohio's 6th District Congressional seat in the Nov. 6 general election.

Issues between Johnson and Wilson began when Wilson released advertising last month stating Johnson had "voted twice to kill Medicare" since he defeated Wilson and took office in January 2011.

Johnson responded by filing a complaint with the Ohio Elections Board, calling the claim a mistruth. A panel ruled Sept. 20 there was probable cause to proceed with the complaint.

Johnson's staff then released a statement announcing the ruling in their favor. They noted in the statement the violation was a first degree misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and that Wilson was served with a deposition subpoena and must answer questions about his ad and allegedly false statements.

Wilson's campaign countered that Johnson's statement was "misleading" with regard to the violation being a misdemeanor punishable by jail time, and that Wilson had never been served a subpoena, said J.R. Starrett, campaign manager for Wilson.

The Ohio Elections Commission Thursday dismissed both of these charges filed by Wilson, but upheld another that the statement pertaining to jail time was repeated on multiple occasions, both campaign managers confirmed.

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