16 July 2005

Diebold rep gave $10,000 to county GOP

July 16, 2005

A contractor who represents Diebold Election Systems arrived at the office of Franklin County Board of Elections Director Matthew Damschroder with an open checkbook on the same day the county was opening bids for voter-registration software.

Pasquale "Pat" Gallina arrived unannounced, Damschroder said.

"I’m here to give you $10,000," the elections director recalls Gallina saying. "Who do I make it payable to?"

"Well, you’re certainly not going to make it out to me," Damschroder says he told Gallina. "But I’m sure the Franklin County Republican Party would appreciate a donation."

Gallina wrote the check, and Damschroder says he took it on Jan. 9, 2004. That weekend, Damschroder said, he mailed the check to the county party. Damschroder had been executive director of the party until June 2003, when he was appointed director of the elections board.

Diebold, the highest of four bidders, didn’t get the software contract, and Damschroder says he never recommended the company.

Gallina said yesterday that the $10,000 was his money and had nothing to do with Diebold. He said he’s always supported county Republican parties in areas where he lives.

"I donate to Licking and to Franklin," he said.

The check incident remained between Gallina and Damschroder until late last month when an assistant county prosecutor called Damschroder. Election Systems & Software, a company that is suing Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell over the state’s policies for buying electronic voting machines, wanted to talk with Damschroder about allegations that Diebold was paying to play, the prosecutor told him.

Damschroder told him about the $10,000 check and had another story to tell.

In May, he said, Gallina called him and bragged about a $50,000 check he had written to Blackwell’s "political interests."

"Isn’t it great that Diebold and the county are going to do business?" he says Gallina asked him.

Damschroder said Gallina went on to tell him that he had met with Norm Cummings, a Blackwell campaign consultant, in Washington, D.C., to work out a deal: Diebold would cut the price of its electronic voting machines to $2,700 each if the company had a guarantee that it would receive all of the state’s business.

"Then Gallina tells me that he then wrote a check for $50,000 to Blackwell’s political interests."


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