Democrat Aftab Pureval has been exposed for lying about using a local campaign account to fund a poll for his federal campaign.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer:
"The poll itself – which until now has been held secret by the Pureval campaign – undermines repeated claims by them that it was for both a future clerk of courts run and an exploration of a congressional run. The poll is headlined, 'Polling in OH-1 shows opportunity for Aftab Pureval.' And there's not one question about the 2020 clerk of court's race."
As the Ohio Elections Commission continues its work to determine if Pureval violated campaign finance laws, this report will no doubt make that decision easier.
Aftab's problems don't end with his campaign finance scandal, however.
Pureval is set to rub shoulders with David Letterman, whose widespread objectification of women in the workplace is especially relevant today as Democrats attempt to derail Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation over uncorroborated allegations.
Aftab's appearance with Letterman will likely receive no pushback from his Democrat colleagues, despite the fact that Letterman's past behavior violates the standard of conduct that they are now claiming Judge Kavanaugh violated.
This should come as no surprise as Democrats are also ignoring the past behavior of Sherrod Brown and Keith Ellison.
"Aftab Pureval lied to reporters and to the Ohio Elections Commission, but worst of all, he lied to the voters of Ohio's first congressional district," ORP spokesman Blaine Kelly said. "Whether by fine, vote, or both, Pureval will pay for his dishonesty."
Read the full Enquirer story:
By Sharon Coolidge
The Enquirer has obtained the poll at the center of a campaign finance spending complaint against Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval – and it's unquestionably a poll about his current congressional race.
The poll itself – which until now has been held secret by the Pureval campaign –undermines repeated claims by them that it was for both a future clerk of courts run and an exploration of a congressional run. The poll is headlined, "Polling in OH-1 shows opportunity for Aftab Pureval."
And there's not one question about the 2020 clerk of court's race.
That's a problem because if the poll was for both races, the spending would be permissible under Ohio campaign finance laws. But spending from a clerk of courts campaign fund solely for the purpose of a congressional run would be a violation of those laws.
The spending must be kept separate because in the federal race, donations are capped at $5,400. In the county race, there are no donation limits.
The final determination is up to the Ohio Elections Commission, which last week voted 6-1 to investigate Pureval's clerks of courts spending. If violations are found, potential fines for the failure to file accurate campaign finance reports can be $15 to $100 per day and the case could be referred to a prosecutor for criminal charges.
A spokesman for the Pureval campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Pureval, a Democrat, was elected Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in 2016. He is running against Republican Steve Chabot for Ohio's 1st Congressional seat, a race that's being watched nationally.
The Enquirer obtained a copy of the poll, which was conducted by GBA Strategies from Jan. 11 to Jan. 16 and polled 400 likely voters.
The poll questions focused on whether the person would vote in the upcoming congressional race, asked several questions about Chabot, asked about the person's views on abortion and even asked a specific question about Chabot's paying his son-in-law to build his campaign website, the focus of a current attack ad against Chabot.
The poll mentions Pureval's time as clerk, but does not ask questions about the 2020 clerk's race.
The Pureval campaign has twice insisted the poll was for both races, though the campaign refused to share its contents.
Pureval campaign manager Sarah Topy told the Enquirer in August, for the first spending story, "There is no story here."
"All of these expenditures were appropriate and legal. Any insinuation otherwise is simply wrong," she said. "It shouldn't surprise anyone that Steve Chabot wants to try and change the subject because he doesn't want to run on his record so he's looking to stir up non-stories where there aren't any."
Pureval campaign attorney Peter O'Shea told a group of reporters last week the money was for polling for both the clerk'ss race and congressional race. "Polling can be done for both races, and there's no law that prohibits from running for two offices at the same time."
The spending has taken center stage in the race, prompting a drama-filled Hamilton County Board of Elections investigation into document redactions and an Ohio Elections complaint, which is going forward.
It all stems from Pureval's 2018 semi-annual campaign finance reports, in which he spent $30,000 – a lot of money for a clerk's race that is two years away. The Enquirer outlined questionable spending about travel, media and a $16,400 expense paid to GBA Strategies for consulting. The firm is known for conducting congressional polls.
After the Enquirer story was published, Brian Shrive, an attorney for the Ohio Coalition Opposed to Spending and Taxes filed a complaint related to the spending with the Ohio Elections Commission.
At first, it was impossible to determine what the GBA spending was for because the memo line in checks related to expenses, including that one, were redacted.
That became its own drama at the Board of Elections about who did the redacting. Hamilton County Board of Elections Deputy Director Sally Krisel admitted she made the redactions at the request of Sarah Topy, Pureval's campaign manager. Krisel apologized for how she handled the matter.
In all, there were four checks, with four redactions. But after Krisel's admission, the Pureval campaign released unredacted checks showing the GBA expense was for "poll balance." The other memos lines were blank under the redactions.