April 16, 2006

Bob McEwen’s Easter Nightmare

Filed under: OH-02 US House — Tom @ 8:50 pm

So how do I feel tonight about the Enquirer’s reports on Bob McEwen?

Like I’ve been sucker-punched in the gut by a 300-pound boxer. I can’t even imagine what the people who have supported him must feel like.

Malia Rulon’s reports today reminded me of what happened shortly after my very first post on Bob McEwen’s candidacy for Congress in last spring’s 2nd District Special Election Primary entered cyberspace.

Bob called me within a couple of days. Notes from that discussion are about 1/3 of the way through the link, but it’s what I didn’t document but remember vividly that’s important now.

Bob said something that struck me as very strange — he contended that had he always kept his Ohio Driver’s License active. I didn’t know what to do with that piece of info at the time, so I didn’t do anything with it.

In retrospect, what a smoking gun that was.

Rulon’s pieces today blow a large portion of the McEwen facade wide open:

The second piece is mostly not harmful, other than that it took an Enquirer investigation to reveal what McEwen should have told voters from the very start about his lobbying efforts. But the final item about Eritrea is very troubling, in light of the following description from Wikipedia as to the situation with freedom of worship in that country:

Since May 2002, the government of Eritrea has only officially recognized the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Sunni Islam, Catholicism and the Evangelical Lutheran church. All other faiths and denominations were required to under go a registration process that was so stringent as to effectively be prohibitive. Amongst other things, the government’s registration system requires religious groups to submit personal information on their membership in order to be allowed to worship. The few organisations that have met all of the registration requirements have still not received official recognition. Other faith groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, Bahais, the Seventh-day Adventist Church and numerous Protestant denominations are not registered and cannot worship freely. They have effectively been banned, and harsh measures have been taken against their adherents. Over twenty Protestant pastors and almost 2000 church members have so far been detained indefinitely and without charge. In addition several Orthodox priests have also been detained, and the Patriarch of the Orthodox church has been removed from office and placed under stringent house arrest ostensibly for objecting to government interference in church affairs.

As of 2004, a number of refugees have been fleeing the country to Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and and beyond because of this lack of freedom and given the large number of prisoners of conscience.

If, as it appears from the excerpt, McEwen is representing the persecutors, he would owe us a justifcation as why. I’m sure his fundamentalist friends would be more than a little interested in his explanation.

My guess is that there is much more he would have to reveal before he would have a reasonable right to expect the voters’ trust.

But I’m speaking in “woulds” and “coulds” because it simply doesn’t matter any more.

It doesn’t matter because, barring a refutation I don’t expect, Rulon’s first report about residency should end whatever doubts there ever were about Bob McEwen’s fitness for office.

Specifically:

….. federal lobbying reports, official correspondence, and property records describe a Washington lobbyist who for much of the last decade has raised his family in suburban Virginia, though still voting in Ohio.

Even the Highland County Board of Elections told the McEwens in a 2002 letter: “You should be voting in Virginia, not Ohio.”

….. An Enquirer review of public records, including McEwen’s voting history, show that McEwen and his wife used the addresses of two different women – in Highland and Hamilton counties – to register to vote in Ohio, even though they did not live there.

….. According to Ohio law, anyone who leaves the state for more than four years, even if they intend to return in the future, loses their right to vote in Ohio.

….. In 2000, the McEwens changed the address on their voter registration card from that property to a home owned by Sharlene Lyle, who was also registered to vote at the same address.

“The problem is that you no longer have an established residence of your own here. Mrs. Lyle’s house is not your home. You cannot use her address in this format,” the board wrote in a letter to the McEwens July 8, 2003.

Board of Elections Director Terry Washburn said McEwen’s voter registration in Highland County was canceled at the time of the 2003 letter.

….. According to the Highland County elections board, McEwen voted every year from 1978 to 2002, except in 1995 and 1998.

Three months after his voter registration was canceled in 2003, he registered to vote in Hamilton County, using the address of Patricia Nixon. McEwen and his wife voted in Hamilton County in the 2004 general election, according to election board records.

This is smoking-gun evidence of serious wrongdoing (please, don’t embarrass yourself by commenting to the contrary; you can always vent by direct e-mail). McEwen’s responses from the article are so pitiful and so off-topic (including the same driver’s license non sequitur) that they’re not even worth wasting bandwidth on.

Here is the law, and here is the category of the penalty:

§ 3503.02. Rules for determining residence.

(E) If a person removes to another state with the intention of making such state the person’s residence, the person shall be considered to have lost the person’s residence in this state.

(F) Except as otherwise provided in division (G) of this section, if a person removes from this state and continuously resides outside this state for a period of four years or more, the person shall be considered to have lost the person’s residence in this state, notwithstanding the fact that the person may entertain an intention to return at some future period.

§ 3599.11. False registration; penalty.

No person shall knowingly make any false statement on any form for registration or change of registration or upon any application or return envelope for an absent voter’s ballot.

Whoever violates this division is guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.

The Enquirer article also says the penalty for a fifth degree felony is “a fine of $2,500 or six months to a year in prison, or both.”

I’m not calling for Bob McEwen to withdraw from The Second District Race. I’m going to give him until the end of the day Tuesday to attempt to refute these drop-dead serious charges, and to consult with the people he cares about, and who care about him: his family, his staff, and especially fundamentalist Christian endorsers Dobson, Wildmon, Burress, and Perkins. If he hasn’t withdrawn by the end of the day Tuesday, I will call for him to withdraw. He will owe it to Deb Kraus, Jean Schmidt’s sole remaining serious challenger, so we can see what Ms. Kraus can show us in the last two weeks of the campaign. He will owe it to his supporters, who shouldn’t have to carry water for a dying campaign to the bitter end. And he will owe it to Second District voters, as we should no longer have to endure what from all appearances has been a sickening 12-month charade.
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I also have a few other feelings that I have to unload, and may add more over the next 24 hours:

  • Barring a refutation I don’t expect, we, and by that I mean all residents of the Second District, are incredibly fortunate. This man came within about 2,700 votes of winning the primary last year, and being the favorite to defeat Democrat up-and-comer Paul Hackett (I believe McEwen would have lost, but one never knows). I’d like to think that some of us in the blogosphere had something to do with last year’s primary result.
  • The really wronged party in all of this is Tom Brinkman, who inexplicably deferred to McEwen’s “superior” status as second-place finisher in last year’s primary in the interest of unseating Jean Schmidt.
  • McEwen should drop out now to free up the energies of his volunteers to work on campaigns they can believe in. I don’t think I need to name names or issues here. Also: For that reason, a prompt withdrawal would advance the cause of conservatism he claims to so believe in.
  • How much easier would everyone’s lives have been in the past year if the Enquirer had done this work last year?
  • Just to be clear how I feel about this, if not refuted — The voting booth should be every American’s second most sacred place, only behind their place of worship. What the McEwens appear to have done is the equivalent of trashing the sacristy. It’s unforgivable for someone wanting to be elected to any kind of public office.
  • Can we expect competing gubernatorial candidates Secretary of State Ken Blackwell or Attorney General Jim Petro to stand around and do NOTHING with what has been revealed?
  • Again, a point of crystal clarity — If what the Enquirer has reported about the McEwens’ voting in Ohio while not living in or Ohio, or even having a residence in Ohio is true, a vote for McEwen is not morally defensible, PERIOD.
  • How do you think the organizers of the Ohio Restoration Project feel right now?
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5 Comments

  1. Simply outstanding post.

    Question: Is Brinkman “wronged” or complicit (or was that a typo)? He did not speak out about what his group did last year; and this year he didn’t do much better…either he didn’t do his research on McEwen before endorsing him, or he purposely looked the other way hoping that we, the people would be too stupid to figure it out. Of course everyone should understand that if Brinkman helps McEwen win the seat, he would have an endorsement in the bag for the state senate seat he wants.

    Either way, Tom has not been acting like a leader who had the best interest of this district in mind.

    He has been a huge disappointment. He and his merry whistle-blowing, COASTers have acted more like liberal women than any of the real, conservative women running or otherwise involved in other campaigns.

    Cheers.

    Comment by Anon — April 16, 2006 @ 9:25 pm

  2. What an excellent posting, Biz. Thanks very much!

    I think Tom Brinkman decided not to run against Jean in this primary for two main reasons. First, he didn’t have enough money. Second, and probably most important, he figured he could beat an incumbent McEwen in 2008 much easier than he could beat a two-plus-year incumbent Schmidt. It appears to me that Brinkman was trying to use McEwen as a springboard for his own Congressional ambitions, the well-being of the Second District notwithstanding. This second reason helps me to understand the baffling ugliness and viciousness of the attacks by Tom’s COAST buddies and their allies in Anderson Township and the twisted and nasty garbage continuously spewed at Jean by that infamous local political pornographer who seems to hate everybody in the whole world except Tom Brinkman, and now very temporarily, Bob McEwen.

    Jeepers, I wonder where this leaves the Anderson Township Republican Club’s 4/19 meeting at the Mercy Healthplex? Jean was never coming, and now perhaps the other half of this non-existent “debate” is doubtful. Is this a great country or what?!

    Comment by Howard — April 16, 2006 @ 11:14 pm

  3. McEwen will dismiss this and pretend it is a non-issue. To me this speaks to his character and honesty. Without strength in those areas a candidates positions on issues are irrelevant.

    Comment by LargeBill — April 17, 2006 @ 1:43 pm

  4. #3, I hope others close to him have better judgment than you believe he has.

    Comment by TBlumer — April 17, 2006 @ 1:50 pm

  5. Thank you for making it perfectly clear what has been going on. I am baffled that our legislators had not figured this out on their own. Doesn’t the election boards have any responsibility to check into a candidate’s eligiblity??

    This blogging stuff works! It allows ordinary citizens like myself to make posts that are available for all to read if they are so inclined!

    Thank you for providing a forum.

    John Miami Township, Clermont County

    Comment by John — April 17, 2006 @ 9:36 pm

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