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Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson's former campaign manager linked to anti-Dennis Kucinich group

Cleveland attorney Michael Bowen and wife Sarah Brandon tied to paperwork of dark money group Citizens for Change.

CLEVELAND — Editor's Note: The video above is from a previously published story

Four years ago, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson named attorney Michael Bowen to run his campaign in the final weeks of the election. Though Jackson is retiring at the end of his fourth term in January, Bowen appears to have a hand in this year’s race.

Bowen and his wife, Sarah Brandon, are linked to the paperwork of Citizens for Change, a political action committee attacking mayoral candidate Dennis Kucinich, the former Cleveland mayor who is one of seven people on the Sept. 14th primary ballot.

Kucinich is widely considered a front runner and a threat to Cleveland Council President Kevin Kelley, who is running with Jackson’s backing.

RELATED: Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson endorses Kevin Kelley as his successor

Created as a nonprofit, Citizens for Change lists Brandon as an incorporator, according to its paperwork on file with the Ohio Secretary of State. The paperwork lists a Maple Heights home as the committee’s address. That home is owned by Bowen, according to Cuyahoga County property records. Bowen and Brandon own a home together in Shaker Heights, according to property records.

Citizens for Change later filed paperwork to change its address to a Beachwood post office box.

Bowen, an attorney with the blue-chip law firm Calfee, did not respond to a voicemail message or email seeking a comment on his role with the group. Brandon did not respond to a voicemail message.

This post will be updated with information from Bowen and Brandon as they respond.

Citizens for Change has mailed voters several fliers critical of Kucinich’s two-year mayoral tenue from 1977-1979. (Cleveland has since changed its mayoral term to four years.)

One flier reads “Dennis has been a menace to Cleveland for 44 years.” Other fliers, which are cataloged on the website, https://citizens4changecle.com/, also criticizes Kucinich for the city’s default in 1978. The fliers also say the city “crumbled under him.” The group also has a Facebook page. 

Such political action committees are created to ultimately shield its donors from being identified. The committees – which operate as non-profit groups with certain limitations -- are legal and are often referred to as dark money groups or super PACs.

Kucinich responded with a statement critical of Bowen's ties to Jackson. 

"This means that the trail of dark and dirty money leads directly to the steps of Cleveland City Hall," Kucinich said.  "If I’m elected Mayor, we’ll put an end that kind of public corruption that feeds off hundreds of thousands of dollars in secret funding from powerful, but anonymous political interests."

More Coverage of the Cleveland Mayoral Race:

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