Lee Fisher’s Research Dumping (Or, How Liberals Finally Decided to Care about Joe “the Plumber”)
In his column yesterday, Joe Hallett explained how Lee Fisher is the Democrat version of Jim Petro and Mitt Romney, as he is yet another candidate who had road to Damascus-like conversions on hot-button social issues exactly at a time most convenient to their political aspirations. Fisher’s flip-flops of choice are: the death penalty and homosexual marriage.
And at the end of his column, Hallett picks up on an issue which really only matters in the minds of Ohio’s pea-brained liberal bloggers:
But that’s how this Democratic Senate race is going to unfold, because both the Fisher and Brunner campaigns are so afraid of making mistakes that they won’t stop making them. Dirty tricks, dodges and cover-ups already are trumping straightforwardness.
Brunner took a hit when her Senate campaign got caught trying to use office equipment that might have been illegally transferred from a previous campaign. Then, she and her husband, Rick, made it worse with a cockamamie story about a secret agreement permitting the Senate campaign to use the equipment in exchange for a donation to charity.
Fisher’s campaign is under suspicion of using a “Joe the Plumber” plant in the Ohio Department of Taxation to dig up dirt on Brunner’s husband and leak it to the media. “Completely baseless,” Fisher said of the charge.
Joe adds no details about the story he is referring to, but what he is talking about is about separate stories from Mark Naymik of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The first is about Senate candidate Jennifer Brunner’s lazy, pot head son forgetting to pay taxes on the house mommy and daddy bought for him. And the second story, which is more serious, about Jennifer Brunner husband not paying property taxes on an office building:
Rick Brunner, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s husband, has a history of making late property tax payments on a Columbus office building he bought with his wife.
Brunner paid small penalties and interest charges in six of the last 11 tax years on his 545 Town Street property, purchased by the Brunners in 1996.
The fines, which range from about $165 in 2002 to a high of $742 in 2007, total around $2,500. The $410,000 building has an annual tax bill of about $10,500 and Brunner is current on the building’s taxes, according Franklin County records.
Rick and Jennifer Brunner, who is a candidate for the U.S. Senate, transferred the property in 1999 to a holding company, Town and Walnut Holdings LLC. Jennifer Brunner listed the company as an asset on her 2007 Ohio Ethics Commission financial disclosure statement but she is no longer a member of the company.
In 2009, Rick Brunner was fined $282 for paying late a portion of his 2008 bill. Rick was in Washington attending the inaugural with his wife.
The 545 property houses The Brunner Law Firm and also used to be home to Jennifer Brunner’s campaign headquarters when she was a candidate for secretary of state.
This is a good, relevant story, right? Of course it is! But leftists over at Buckeye State Blog are certain that the bigger story here involves Lee Fisher’s campaign handing over the information to Naymik, as if they are just SHOCKED and outraged to learn that campaigns, on a regular basis, feed information to lazy reporters. And to add to this uninteresting conspiracy, the Fisher campaign won’t even admit to it! oh hum. yawn. This is about as interesting as the fact that Jennifer Brunner’s campaign is working with the Buckeye State Blog to make this situation into a meaningful distraction.
The conspiracy theory is that John Kohlstrand, Ohio Department of Taxation spokesman and hatchet man for Ohio Democrat Party Chairman Chris Redfern, must have illegally snooped around to find the information about Mr. Brunner. This is a fascinating story if true, but there is NO EVIDENCE thus far. And while it is clear that Sam “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher had his personal records illegally looked at by Strickland/Fisher administration officials, the Kohlsrand connection has simply not been established, no matter how much Team Brunner and her kook blogger friends want it to be true.
And if it is true, I would certainly hope this would give liberal Ohio bloggers pause, as they are outraged by the inherent intrusiveness of the same big government which they advocate for. And when there is a tax code which requires all Ohioans to justify every penny they earn, those records can always be used by corrupt bureaucrats trying to score points with the political elite.
And just when you thought this story as over, now apparently the Fisher campaign is apparently yet again to blame for bad news for Team Brunner. This time, it involves a blog post by James Nash of The Columbus Dispatch, accusing their spokesbabe of ethical violations:
Sandy Theis is a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner’s campaign for U.S. Senate. Theis also is a spokeswoman and operative for a group trying to derail a proposed November ballot initiative for casinos – a matter, it so happens, that Brunner’s office will decide Tuesday.
Some observers questioned today whether Theis’ dual roles pose a conflict of interest. After all, they said, wouldn’t Brunner be more apt to take the side of someone who’s working for her campaign?
This sounds like an interesting story worth checking into. But liberal bloggers dismiss James Nash, who is a liberal card-carrying member of the ACLU, as a “closeted Republican!” Good grief, these guys couldn’t buy a clue in a clue store with a pocket of clue-bucks.
In the end, Jennifer Brunner’s tax issues matter, her misuse of campaign funds matter, and Shady Sandy’s duel-roles matter. They are all legitimate stories worth reporting on, just like it would be legitimate to report if there was any illegal snooping of government records. Liberal bloggers support Brunner because she is farther to the right than Lee Fisher, and are working to turn every negative story into some sort of wild conspiracy.
If Team Brunner spent half as much effort paying their taxes on time and hiring ethical employees as they spend on spinning brainless bloggers, all of this mess could have been avoided.