Updating with Republican campaign finance assistance to DeWine, and other GOP caniddates
Updating with comment from Pepper and DeWine campaigns, and campaign finance detail.
The David Pepper campaign for Ohio Attorney General, which is already likely causing heartburn in the Mike DeWine re-election campaign with its aggressive ads, attacked the incumbent over its handling of a sexual harassment complaint in the AG's office.
Here's the Pepper campaign's release with a link to an AP story about the harassment case.
COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper, Democratic Nominee for Ohio Attorney General, joined women from across Ohio to criticize a troubling pattern of harassment cases and short-circuited investigations in the Attorney General’s Office:
“These startling incidents are starting to resemble a workplace out of the 1950s when it comes to women. It’s long past time to end a “Mad Men” culture which keeps rearing its ugly head in the Attorney General’s Office,” Pepper said.
“The attorney general can’t lead the fight to prevent violence against women if he doesn’t protect the women who work in his own office. Threats of violence are never acceptable and should never be swept under the rug. I will order a complete internal investigation of these incidents and any others—and bring in outside experts to do a top-to-bottom review of the office’s harassment policies and practices—to ensure that we are taking every possible step to create a safe, harassment-free working environment in the AG’s office.”
Last Thursday, the Associated Press reported details of a case in which an attorney in the Employment Law Section made repeated threats of physical violence against a legal secretary—specifically referring to “punching” and “slapping” women. A senior DeWine aide was aware of the incidents, but failed to report them, and told some employees he didn’t want to create a “no fun zone” in the Attorney General’s office. He was initially disciplined, but, in an unusual move, was later allowed to have his case reinvestigated. The attorney who made the threats remains an AG employee, while the victim no longer works there.
This is the second major harassment case to be uncovered in the office, after a case involving the harassment of a female intern was revealed earlier this year. In that case, DeWine himself demanded to know the name of a confidential informant and met with that informant. The case went unresolved, and the intern never returned.
As a centerpiece of his agenda, Pepper has pledged to make preventing violence against women a priority. In April, he released his plan to make Ohio a leader in preventing domestic abuse and sexual assaults.
The DeWine campaign issued a statement, as follows:
"In this case, an attorney who has worked for five different attorneys general made inappropriate and hurtful comments for which he was disciplined and suspended.
While David Pepper campaigns against career employees of the attorney general’s office, Mike DeWine is showing real leadership preventing violence against women—leading the way to test thousands of old rape kits that sat on shelves for decades, helping law enforcement put rapists and human traffickers in prison, and expanding access to rape crisis centers across Ohio."
The most recent monthly campaign finance reports suggest that the Ohio Democratic Party considers Pepper its most promising candidate this year. Contribution reports show that in September, the party gave Pepper $332,950 in in-kind assistance and $65,000 in cash, for a total of almost $400,000.
The other candidates got no in-kind assistance and smaller amounts of cash, as follows:
Connie Pillich (for Treasurer) - $45,000
John Carney (for Auditor) - $15,000
Nina Turner (for Secretary of State) - $15,000
Ed FitzGerald (for Governor) - $7,500.
Mike DeWine also appears to be the candidate getting the most help from his party, which may reflect concern about his re-election.
In the September campaign finance reports, DeWine received $202,072 in in-kind help and $100,000 cash from the Ohio Republican Party.
Other statewide candidates, and what they received, are:
- Treasurer Josh Mandel - $100,000 in cash, $134,929 in in-kind help.
- Gov. John Kasich - $0 in cash, $69,630 in in-kind help.
- Auditor Dave Yost - $0 in cash, $14,028 in in-kind help.
- Secretary of State Jon Husted - $0 in cash, $12,071 in in-kind help.