Sen. Howard Metzenbaum, who was re-elected overwhelmingly last month after the most expensive campaign in Ohio history, gave his campaign manager a $50,000 Election-Day bonus, federal disclosure reports showed Tuesday.
Federal Election Commission rec-ords show the Ohio Democrat rewarded his campaign staff with more than $80,000 in bonuses, in addition to their salaries.All the money came from contributions from Metzenbaum supporters.
Metzenbaum fought off a well-financed challenge from Cleveland Mayor George Voinovich. Together, the two candidates spent more than $16 million - far exceeding the previous state record of $3.9 million spent by Ohio Sen. John Glenn and GOP challenger James Betz in 1980.
Metzenbaum's campaign manager, Peter Harris, defended the bonus in an interview Tuesday, claiming his total compensation, including the bonus, was a little more than $71,000. He compared his income to that of Voinovich's campaign manager, Jim Conrad.
"His year-to-date salary was $103,000 and change," Harris said of Conrad. "I got $71,000 and some change, including the bonus."
Vincent Panichi, treasurer for the Voinovich campaign, didn't dispute Harris' math but said the $103,000 probably reflected money Conrad earned from pre-1988 campaign work as well as for his work in 1988.
"Jim worked for 18 months for $103,000. I don't think that's outrageous," Panichi said.