Two of three political candidates in Washington County facing charges of campaign finance violations have been found not guilty.
Supervisor candidates Jack Seward Jr., 56, of West Chester, and Robert C. Yoder, 57, of Kalona, were found not guilty this week. Yoder’s trial wrapped up Thursday, and jurors deliberated for about 15 minutes before delivering a verdict, according to the Washington Evening Journal.
Seward’s trial finished Tuesday, but his not guilty verdict was sealed until Yoder’s trial finished, according to the Journal.
Charges against a third person facing campaign finance violations – former Iowa House District 78 candidate Priscilla Marlar, 24, of rural Washington County – were dropped Friday. Marlar is no longer in the race because she lost the June 5 primary.
The Washington County Attorney’s Office filed seven criminal charges against a Washington-based business accused of improper placement of campaign signs, but those charges also were dropped Friday.
Custom Impressions Inc., 110 West Main St., faced unlawful campaign sign placement charges based on allegations that the company, which is only allowed to post signs advocating ballot issues, illegally posted signs in May pushing for the election of certain candidates. The business also faces a charge of unlawful campaign contribution from a corporation based on allegations it gave $75 to Seward’s committee on May 11, according to the County Attorney’s Office.
Seward faced one count of unlawful receipt of a monetary or in-kind campaign contribution from a corporation, based on allegations he received an in-kind campaign contribution of $75 from Custom Impressions Inc. on May 11.
Yoder faced a count of unlawful transfer of campaign funds based on allegations he made an illegal transfer of funds on May 24 to a political action committee — the Iowa Political Action Committee Free County — worth $1,400.
Marlar faced a count of unlawful receipt of a monetary campaign contribution from a corporation and a count of unlawful use of campaign funds based on allegations that she received a contribution of $300 on April 27 from Iowa-based Olson-Powell Memorial Chapel Inc., and spent $101.65 for personal reasons. She is accused of buying car tires on June 27 with the campaign money, according to the County Attorney’s Office.
Seward, a Republican, is facing Democrat Kay Ciha for the open Washington County supervisor’s seat representing District 1. Yoder, a Republican, is running unopposed for the open supervisor’s seat representing District 2.
There is a third open supervisor’s seat pitting Republican Stan Stoops against Democrat Richard Gilmore, neither of whom are affected by the alleged campaign violations.
Washington County Auditor Dan Widmer told The Gazette that he doesn’t think the not guilty verdicts will have much of an effect on the election.