Commonsense Conservative For Ohio


Desperate Strickland Plans False Attacks

'Strickland's memorandum is so pathetic, we're releasing it for him.' 

COLUMBUS, Ohio –  The Strickland campaign is set to commit an act of desperation tomorrow morning as internal doubts about their candidate continue to mount. On the heels of lost union support and amidst a growing chorus of criticism from his own party, Ted Strickland will attempt to recycle disproven personal attacks for an entire month. Why? Because he's hit a dead end. Meanwhile, Rob Portman spent the past week meeting with veterans and community leaders from around Ohio.

From Campaign Manager Corry Bliss: "The coming Strickland memorandum is so pathetic, we're releasing it for him. While Ted's false attacks are disappointing, they're not surprising given his lost union endorsements, failure to meet fundraising goals, and the fury his campaign ignited for racist gimmicks. Ted has nothing left to do except recycle disproven personal attacks because his campaign has no traction, no money, and no grassroots support -- just one failed record of doing nothing while 350,000 jobs fled Ohio and then moving to D.C. to cash in on his political connections. Ted Strickland should take a deep breath, stop the false attacks, and figure out a way to explain why he took money to represent the benefactors of a Ponzi scheme that bilked thousands of Ohioans out of their life savings."

Full fact checks on Ted Strickland's false claims are below, but first, let's examine Ted's own record in the private sector:

Ted Strickland’s Private Sector Career

Ted Strickland’s private sector career includes forming a lobbying group with high-powered DC insiders, representing a New York hedge fund who financed an infamous Ponzi scheme, sitting on the boards of two government-funded organizations (included one that failed) and questionable associations with political organizations that he funded.

1) Strickland was hired as a mediator on behalf of a New York City hedge fund that knowingly financed a Ponzi scheme that robbed thousands of Ohioans of their retirement savings.

NOTE: Strickland’s personal financial disclosure from 2015, which only covers the year prior, lists $25,000 from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP and checks the box that indicates more than $5,000 from Fortress Investment Group, LLC (where he lists his role as “Mediator, Client of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister). 

NOTE: At the time of Strickland's work for Fortress, its subsidiary - Fortress Credit Corp - was mired in a nasty Madoff-like ponzi scandal that saw Ohio investors bilked out of $200 million and resulted in prison time for corrupt executives. Fortress ignored warning signs and provided financing to Fair Finance - the investment firm responsible for the ponzi scheme, which was also represented by Taft Stettinius. “Fortress ignored warning signs in providing financing to Fair Finance and its Indiana-based owners, which Bash argued enabled the owners to conduct a Ponzi scheme that bilked more than 5,000 Ohio investors.”

NOTE: His client bilked 5,200 Ohioans.

Ohio victims who lost everything and who Ted Strickland mediated against:
“…5,200-plus Ohio residents and organizations, primarily in Northeast Ohio, who had trusted and invested more than $216 million in Fair Finance… Very little of that has proven to be collectable… Nearly all of that money has gone to pay for legal fees and related expenses. The money recovered so far amounts to less than $2,800 per investor. While the average holding per investor amounted to $41,122, many people and some organizations had invested much more. (Akron Beacon Journal, 12/6/14)

“Durham and Cochran were accused of using Fair Finance funds to spend on lavish lifestyles at the expense of the thousands of people who for years had loaned money to Fair Finance by buying investment certificates… Durham, who collected expensive cars and art, had a yacht, leased a jet, owned a mansion and more than once said he wanted to be the richest man in America…” (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/14/13)
DON RUSSELL: “…lost his life savings — more than $300,000 he and his wife accumulated over 35 years — after having invested for years with Fair Finance. He also had persuaded his mother, Pearl, to invest her life savings of more than $100,000 with Fair Finance as well, including $50,000 that she had inherited from her late parents, farmers in Alabama. His mother was hospitalized a day after the raids and died less than a month later, Russell said. “The big thing with me, my mother died,” said Russell, a 64-year-old Doylestown resident and retired deputy sheriff. “You can’t prove she died from her money being stolen. But she did. He also questioned the bankruptcy, saying it has solely benefited the lawyers and accountants involved in the process.” (Akron Beacon Journal, 12/6/14)

MARY SCHEATZLE: “We got screwed out of $25,000,” Scheatzle said… “It was going to be for a new car,” Scheatzle recalled. (Akron Beacon Journal, 12/6/14)

AKRON WOMAN: “I am a 83 year old pushed to poverty from ‘Fair Finance’ stealing my life savings… I have a disabled daughter (veteran) I was helping now I can’t help anyone. I have to ask my son and brother to help pay my bills. I am ill from stress.” (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/14/13)
OHIO WIDOW: “The money I had invested with Fair Finance was money I had to live on… My husband and I had worked and saved for our old age so we could enjoy our old age and not be a burden to our children. … This is how I cope — I drive a 12-year-old car, I go to Damage Freight & buy groceries. I go to Goodwill and buy my clothes. I raise a big garden & can and freeze vegetables. I pray a lot. I’m 85 years old and have survived cancer twice.” (Akron Beacon Journal, 1/14/13)

MARY LOUISE GRIGG: “I am 75 years old, a widow for 34 years, and thought I would be retired by now. I am still working part time because my retirement plan – part of which was the investment in Fair Finance – disappeared. I have worked for 50 years, driving a 25 year-old pick-up truck, living in a modest home…” (Grigg Letter, 9/1/12, p.597)

2) Ted Strickland formed a lobbying firm with powerful Washington insiders but Strickland won't identify his clients.

NOTE: In a previous interview, Strickland noted that he started one of the firms to “be helpful to some of my former staff people who, quite frankly, worked for me for years and years at salaries that weren’t very big.” ... He declined to identify his clients." (USA Today, August 11, 2013)

NOTE: In his 2011 financial disclosure statement, Strickland reported that he served as the firm’s chairman. The firm, which was comprised of top Strickland advisors and had offices in Ohio and D.C., was to specialize in business expansion and political and advocacy campaigns with a focus on health care and energy issues. (Ohio Ethics Commission, Ted Strickland Financial Disclosure Statement, Filed March 13, 2012)

NOTE: “The brothers [Steve and Jeff Ricchetti] recently started another firm, Midwest Gateway Partners, with former Ohio governor Ted Strickland. National Journal reported last year that the firm would “do some lobbying work.” (Dana Milbank, The Washington Post, March 7, 2012)  

3) When Strickland left the governor's office, he had zero business experience. He was named a member of the board of two government funded organizations, Viridis Learning and Serious Energy (which failed), that have long history with the Obama administration.

NOTE: Viridis Learning is a New York-based education tech company led by Felix Ortiz, who has served in multiple capacities for Obama. YouthBuild USA, a government-funded non-profit, was among the “early adopters” of Viridis’ system. (Viridis Learning, Press Release, October 17, 2013)

NOTE: In 2009 and 2010, the Obama administration established a cozy relationship with Serious Energy that was rooted in the company’s dependence on stimulus-funded incentives. (John Stossel, Fox Business, February 23, 2012) 

4) Ted Strickland’s failed 2010 campaign gave over $150,000 to Innovation Ohio – and he later listed himself as a consultant.  Did he get paid by his own campaign money?

NOTE: From March 2011 - January 2012, Strickland’s campaign committee - Strickland for Governor - made a total of $159,076 in donations to Innovation Ohio. His committee’s $130,000 donation in 2011 accounted for 20% of Innovation Ohio’s total revenue for that year. (Ohio Secretary of State, Strickland for Governor Expenditures, Accessed June 8, 2015; Innovation Ohio, 2011 IRS 990) 

5) Strickland also listed himself as a consultant to the political consulting firm Remington Road Group, but refuses to name accounts he worked on. They also now run his campaign.

NOTE: According to Strickland’s financial disclosure statement for the 2011 calendar year, Strickland reported an undisclosed amount of “consultation” income from The Remington Road Group LL 

NOTE: Since 2011, The Remington Road Group LLC has been paid over $500,000 for its political consulting work for labor union groups, an Ohio ballot campaign, the Democrat Attorneys General Association, the Ohio Association for Justice PAC, and a failed Ohio gubernatorial candidate.

NOTE: Remington Road Group has received over $72,500 from Strickland's Senate campaign for "strategic consulting." (FEC)

Ted Strickland's False Attacks

FALSE CLAIM #1: "Portman Was A Registered Foreign Agent For A Brutal Haitian Dictator"

FACTS: In 1984 – 32 years ago – fresh out of law school, Rob worked for two years at a law firm that required all of their attorneys to register as standard procedure. Although Rob filed, he never actually did any lobbying work on their behalf. In 2005, the top Democrat lobbyist at Patton Boggs, Partner Stuart Pape, filled out an affidavit saying Rob never did any lobbying (CLICK HERE FOR AFFIDAVIT). It is also important to note that the reason this affidavit came to fruition was because one cannot legally serve as USTR if one has ever lobbied for foreign governments. Rob was unanimously confirmed to serve as USTR following his time at Patton Boggs. It’s also important to note that the BuzzFeed article they are using as a citation proves their claim false.

FACT: In 1984 – 32 years ago – fresh out of law school and as a first-year associate, Rob "never billed a millisecond of time” to the governments of Oman and Haiti.

ABC NEWSDid Rob Portman Lobby for Haiti? No. "But there's one problem with the allegation: It's not true... Portman's Senate office has provided what appears to be solid evidence that he, in fact, did no work for Haiti or Oman or, for that matter, any foreign government. In a signed affidavit provided by Portman's staff and dated April 12, 2005, the managing partner of Patton Boggs, Stuart Pape, says flatly that Portman did no work for any foreign government during his relatively short stint with the firm. Pape, by the way, is a prominent Democratic lobbyist. "I have reviewed the time records maintained by the Firm for the entire period in which Mr. Portman was an associate attorney with the Firm," Pape says in the affidavit. "Those records confirm," Pape says, that "at no time did Mr. Portman do any work for any foreign government or entity of a foreign government."

FALSE CLAIM #2: "Portman Registered And Worked for a Chinese-Based Company That Operated In Countries Notorious As Tax Havens"

FACT: In 1984 – 32 years ago – fresh out of law school and as a first-year associate, Rob did NOT work for a Chinese company.

FACT: Duty Free Shoppers was a privately held company.

HISTORY 101: In 1984 - at the time of Rob’s work – Hong Kong was not part of China – it was a British Colony. Hong Kong did not become part of China until July 1, 1997.

FACT: The Ohio Democrats should take a look a Ted Strickland’s record before attacking Rob on voting for Most Favored Nation Status for China considering the former Governor also supported MFN while in Congress:

Strickland voted twice – in 
1993 and 1994 – in support of China's Most Favored Nation status. (HJRes 208, Roll Call Vote 347, July 21, 1993, Overall vote: 105-318, Strickland Vote: No), (HJRes 373, Roll Call Vote 381, August 9, 1994, Overall vote: 75-356, Strickland Vote: No)

PolitiFact Ohio: We consulted trade experts on both sides of the partisan aisle. They were unanimous that the ad’s statement is fundamentally wrong.
Weekly Standard: Ted Strickland Was For Free Trade with China, Before He Was Against It
Washington Free Beacon: Democratic Senate Candidate Again Under Fire for Misleading Voters
Morning Consult: But while Strickland opposed the renewal in 2000, he voted in 1993 and 1994 to retain China’s “most favored nation” status.

FACT: In 2010, the Strickland administration awarded a $4 million taxpayer-funded loan to a Toledo solar firm, Xunlight Corp., despite knowing the firm was building a Chinese assembly plant. (Toledo Blade, November 18, 2010)

Xunlight Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2014. (Toledo Blade, November 25, 2014)

: "Portman Worked For A Wall Street Bank That Contributed To The Housing Market Crash And Global Economic Recession"

FACT: Strickland actually admitted he was responsible for Wall Street’s collapse when he was asked in an interview in 2008 whether he bears any responsibility for the collapse of the financial system. Strickland admitted saying, “Absolutely.” “I think everyone in Congress has some responsibility, and I’ll accept whatever share I may have had of that.” (The Columbus Dispatch, April 29, 2010)

FACT: In 2007, Rob joined a law firm in his hometown of Cincinnati and also taught at The Ohio State University before he ran for Senate. 

FACT: Rob never worked for J.P. Morgan Chase.

FACT: J.P. Morgan Chase employs 20,475 people in the Columbus area – making it the largest private-sector employer in a region. Rob Portman was never one of their employees.

FACT: Rob worked for a law firm Squire, Sanders & Dempsey for a little over two years -- as a lawyer, never as a lobbyist. 

FACT: Strickland has taken over $2 million in campaign donations from the financial services industry and their employees during his career. A review of Strickland’s campaign donations found that he received notable PAC donations from the American Bankers Association, JPMorgan Chase, NYSE, and the Securities Industry Association. 

FACT: Strickland gave Ohio taxpayer's dollars to JP Morgan Chase. In 2010, Bloomberg reported that Strickland worked with Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman on a tax incentives package for JPMorgan Chase around the time of the $700 billion Wall Street bailout. According to ProPublica, the firm received $25 billion from the bailout. (Bloomberg, October 19, 2010; ProPublica, Bailout Tracker, Accessed April 20, 2015)