Sec. Frank LaRose misses deadline for U.S. Senate financial disclosures

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, and Republican candidates Matt Dolan and Bernie Moreno have filed their reports

By: - November 16, 2023 4:55 am

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal. Republish photo only with original story.)

The three Republican candidates hoping to topple U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, go before voters in a few months, and by now should’ve disclosed information about their personal finances.

Two of them, state Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, and Westlake entrepreneur Bernie Moreno, have already done so. After filing an extension through Nov. 14, though, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose still has not.

In both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate, candidates and member have to regularly file disclosures that describe their financial positions, assets and liabilities. But the reports stick to broad strokes. Filers name their mutual funds, for instance, but the amount of their holdings are bracketed — $1,001-$15,000, $15,001-$50,000, etc.

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) delivers remarks ahead of President Joe Biden on the more than $1.5 billion in federal spending on a companion bridge to the Brent Spence Bridge over the Ohio River at the City of Covington Owned Property Event Site on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023 in Covington, Kentucky. (Photo for States Newsroom by Michael Clubb.)

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

Like the candidates, Sen. Brown has to file financial disclosures annually. His latest covers the preceding calendar year, 2022. Candidates, on the other hand, must include the previous year as well as financial activity up to the time of filing.

Brown reported about $27,000 in retirement income from his time as a state official. His U.S. Senate income doesn’t need to be disclosed, nor do his U.S. Senate retirement accounts.

Brown also reports serving as a trustee at Gallaudet University in Washington D.C. since 2008.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose talks to reporters. (Photo by Susan Tebben, OCJ.)

Sec. Frank LaRose

Under U.S. Senate rules, candidates must file financial disclosure reports within 30 days of becoming a candidate. LaRose announced his candidacy July 17, and filed for a financial disclosure extension August 9. That extension gave him until November 14 to file his report.

Despite that 90-day reprieve, LaRose has yet to file. The Ohio Capital Journal reached out to his campaign to see if the report has been filed but not yet posted or if the campaign has requested a further extension. The campaign did not respond.

Candidates failing to file isn’t exactly unheard of. During last year’s congressional races, several U.S. House candidates missed deadlines. Late filing carries a $200 penalty and failing to file or filing a false report carries a civil penalty of up to $50,000.

LaRose’s failure to file thus far is particularly notable given a $250,000 personal loan he made to his campaign in September. While his Republican opponents have loaned their campaigns significantly more money, LaRose’s previous disclosures from his time as a state lawmaker don’t suggest he’d have that much cash readily available.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — JUNE 15: State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Lima, speaks during the Ohio Senate session, June 15, 2023, at the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Graham Stokes for Ohio Capital Journal)

State Sen. Matt Dolan

Chagrin Falls Republican Matt Dolan comes from a wealthy family that owns the Cleveland Guardians. In addition to serving in state office, Dolan worked in the Geauga County prosecutor’s office and as an Assistant Attorney General.

Dolan’s disclosure shows him earning more than $20,000 for his roles at a management firm and for the Guardians in addition to the more than $123,000 he made as a state senator. Dolan made a few thousand dollars a trustee for two family trusts and practicing for a private legal firm.

The senator’s investment holdings are vast—including stocks from more than 250 companies, more than 50 mutual funds and bonds. He reports a Morgan Stanley money market account with more than $1 million alone as well as several mutual funds worth more than half a million dollars each.

Dolan also reports a handful of retirement accounts, partial ownership of several LLCs and real estate. One residential building brought in more than $50,000 in rent.

In addition to his income Dolan holds personal line of credit with Morgan Stanley worth at least $5 million. The interest rate for that credit line is just 5.96% according to Dolan’s amended report — roughly 2.5 percentage points below the current prime rate.

Dolan has loaned his campaign a total of $7 million.

Left to right, forum moderator, Bloomdaddy from WTAM Radio, Bernie Moreno, Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, OH Sec. of State Frank LaRose. (Photo by Nick Evans, Ohio Capital Journal.)

Bernie Moreno

If anything, Moreno’s disclosure is more complex still. The Westlake entrepreneur began his business career selling cars, and his report describes his role as director of 17 different automotive business entities, most of which are no longer operating. But from cars, Moreno has branched into several other lines of business including real estate and tech.

Moreno’s assets are held in a series of trusts, and the report includes several notes about partial ownership and recent sales. He owns 65% of Dryver, LLC, for instance, which the report values at between $5 million and $25 million. Moreno recently sold off his stake in different company called Champ Titles, and reports making more than $5 million on the deal.

He has investments worth at least half a million dollars in handful of Tel Aviv companies working technology, social media investing and healthcare AI. Moreno has also invested in Narya, the venture capital firm U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance, R-OH, started before running to office. Vance has endorsed Moreno’s senate bid.

Moreno also reports owning millions in residential and commercial real estate. He owns 43% of a home in Ocean Reef, FL worth at least $5 million. It appears the property is a rental because it generated more than $50,000 in income. Moreno also owns a 1% stake condos located in Washington, D.C., and New York City, as well as a $1 million unimproved parcel in Zapotal, Costa Rica.

He described two different checking accounts holding at least $500,000 and $1 million respectively. The first generated at least $15,000 interest, the latter, more than $50,000.

His debts, meanwhile, seem relatively modest. He holds personal and home equity lines of credit, but both are paid off. In 2022, he finished off the mortgage on a commercial property and repaid a Small Business Administration loan. In April of this year, he paid off the mortgage for a different commercial property.

According to the report his outstanding liabilities include the mortgages on his primary residence and one additional commercial property.

Moreno has loaned his campaign $3 million.

Follow OCJ Reporter Nick Evans on Twitter.



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Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He got his start in Tallahassee, covering issues like redistricting, same sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he has covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing have been featured numerous times on NPR.