July 14, 2005

2nd Congressional District (OH) GOP Primary Post-Mortem: Enquirer Reports on McEwen Financial Disclosure

Filed under: OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 8:52 am

The Cincinnati Enquirer, in its “Inside Washington” section Monday, reported that Bob McEwen DID file his required financial disclosure form, and that, in an outrage BizzyBlog expected before the election, it didn’t arrive until the day after the election (bolds are mine):

Bob McEwen earns more out of office
By Malia Rulon
Enquirer staff writer

WASHINGTON – If it’s any consolation, Republican Bob McEwen – who lost in the primary last month for a congressional seat – didn’t really need the money.

McEwen’s six-page, handwritten personal financial disclosure form came into the House Clerk’s office June 15 – one day after the Ohio 2nd District primary election. By then, McEwen had already lost to Jean Schmidt.

McEwen and other candidates running to replace Rob Portman, who resigned to become the U.S. trade representative, were required to file personal financial disclosure forms. The forms list assets and liabilities in broad ranges, providing a glimpse into personal wealth.

Although it’s not clear if the report was late, it clearly was too late for voters to see before casting their ballots.

Last year, McEwen – a former congressman – made $72,000 from speaking engagements, $38,000 from consulting, and between $100,000 and $1 million from his company, McEwen Enterprises, which sells motivational CDs and DVDs. Total: $210,000 to $1.1 million.

That amount does not include any money McEwen may have earned as a partner in Advantage Associates, a Washington lobbying firm. It also doesn’t include money earned from, or the value of, two blind trusts.

Still, a glance at the last form McEwen filed as a congressman shows that private life is more lucrative than being a lawmaker. In 1991, McEwen earned $27,000 for speeches and a $102,000 salary. Lawmakers now make about $162,000, but paid speeches are no longer allowed.

So what about the motivational tapes? The Enquirer tried to order a set June 3, but was told in a June 21 e-mail that the tapes were temporarily unavailable: “We, unfortunately, have been in Ohio for weeks and won’t return to Va. for about another 2 weeks. Can you wait that long?”

Following up on the bolded points:

  • To be fair to McEwen, the deadline for his financial-disclosure filing was, according to election law, 15 days after May 31, making his June 15 submission legal. To be fair to the GOP voters of the 2nd District, which Bob McEwen clearly wasn’t, he ethically owed his potential constituents a full disclosure of his situation before the primary vote on June 14 and he didn’t provide it. It’s a disgrace that the law doesn’t require it before primary day, and it’s a disgrace that McEwen didn’t care to provide it anyway.
  • One of these days when I have unlimited time (ha), I’ll have to look at a blank version of the financial disclosure form and figure out how you can get away with NOT disclosing income earned as a lobbyist. For what it’s worth, the Washington Post reported on June 22 that “best-connected aides” earn about $300,000 annually as lobbyists. One would assume that a 12-year former congressman in McEwen’s position “earns” a great deal more.
  • My understanding (HT to Project Logic) is that McEwen’s Anderson Township condo is for sale, and that he has indeed moved backed to Virginia. Given how well he is doing, one can’t blame him. CORRECTED–See this post.

We’re left to wonder what Bob McEwen’s true motivations were for running, and who he really was going to represent if he had been elected. Thank goodness we don’t need answers.

We also will never know how Paul Hackett might have exploited the legal but ethically challenged timing of McEwen’s financial disclosure, or its content. It’s pretty clear that there would have been a lot for the Hackett folks to work with.

UPDATE: I would like to think that the various regulatory and law-enforcement people looking into Amway/Quixtar are paying attention to the full implications of this from above: “(McEwen earned) between $100,000 and $1 million from his company, McEwen Enterprises, which sells motivational CDs and DVDs.” Especially if the actual figure is close to $1 mil.

UPDATE 2: I would have expected to find this out sooner than 72 hours after publication in the Google alert I have set up for “McEwen”–a very disapointing performance indeed for the Googlemeisters.

UPDATE 3, July 18: (HT Large Bill) The rumor mill (scroll down a bit) says that McEwen may want to try to take out Mike DeWine in the 2006 Senatorial Primary. Must resist snarky comment, must resist snarky comment, must……