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'It just doesn't look good': Morgan Co. GOP returns donation to City of Martinsville

Downtown Martinsville

The head of the Morgan County Republican Party says the group has returned a monetary donation from the City of Martinsville. Both sides say the incident was an honest mistake.

“It was a pretty straightforward clerical error,” Morgan County GOP chair Daniel Elliott said in a Wednesday phone interview.

The county GOP received a $500 donation from the City of Martinsville on March 15, according to campaign finance records. Elliott said the donation was for a table at the party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

“The City of Martinsville said, ‘Hey, mistake was made.’ But we had to record it (officially) and we sent it back to them,” Elliott said.

According to Elliott, when the city gets a table at the dinner, it’s normally funded by a candidate or local business. After a (Martinsville) Reporter-Times article made him aware of the issue, Elliott said the county party sent the money back.

“I’m like, ‘We got a contribution from the City of Martinsville? Oh, guys, we can't do that,’” Elliott said. “Even though it’s not illegal, it just doesn’t look good.”

With a population just under 12,000, Martinsville is the largest city in Morgan County and is the county seat.

Mayor Kenny Costin, a Republican, was unavailable for comment Wednesday and Thursday.

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