Rich Iott, a 2010 Ohio Republican congressional candidate who for years dressed up in SS uniforms to participate in Nazi reenactments, has given $1,000 to Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel's Senate campaign. The October Federal Elections Commission filing by Citizens for Josh Mandel shows Iott donated the money on Sept. 5 to Mandel's primary-election campaign.
Iott, a Tea Party favorite who lost the congressional race in Ohio's 9th District to Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo), belonged to a group that reenacts the exploits of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, according to The Atlantic, which first reported the story last October. The Atlantic published photos of Iott in Nazi uniforms.
Mandel has not officially declared his candidacy for a 2012 Senate run against Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown, but he has raised over $3.8 million for the campaign. Politico first reported last week that Mandel's campaign received the Iott donation.
When the story broke about Iott's Nazi reenactments in October 2010, Iott said he never meant disrespect to anyone in the military or anyone affected by the tragedy of war, especially the Jewish community.
Iott was listed on the Nazi reenactment group's roster in 2003, but he told The Atlantic he quit the group in 2007 because his son lost interest. He said war reenactments were a hobby he shared with his son, and he was only interested in the history and did not agree with Nazi ideology. He did not apologize for his actions and instead blamed Kaptur for the revelations, JTA reported.
At the time of the controversy, the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) called Iott unfit for office, and the National Republican Congressional Committee dropped him from its preferred list of candidates.
U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish and was then the House minority whip, repudiated Iott's behavior, said JTA. U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), then the House minority leader, continued to solicit funds for Iott, Politico reported.
Mandel was unavailable for comment.
The RJC did not return a call requesting comment on this story. The Ohio Democratic Party also declined to comment.