Is Kevin DeWine Misleading ORP Donors?

During the flood of uniformly annoying December 31 fundraising mailers, Kevin DeWine and the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) sent an email titled, “Every Dollar Raised in Ohio, Stays in Ohio.” Does this mean ORP has severed ties with Brett Buerck and his Florida consulting firm, Majority Strategies?

As recently as November 2, 2011, The Columbus Dispatch covered ORP’s Buerck connection:

Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine wouldn’t address whether the comeback of Buerck and Sisk was controversial for the party. But he and a spokesman for the Romney campaign separately vouched for the work of Buerck’s firm.

During the 2010 statewide campaign, the state party paid Majority Strategies about $1.8 million. It also paid $3.3 million for direct-mail services to King Strategic Communications, a firm owned by Joe King, a former Ohio GOP official who also did campaign work for Gov. John Kasich — who tried to depose DeWine.

“We were quite pleased with the performance of both vendors,” DeWine said of the Buerck and King firms.

Emphasis mine. Is Majority Strategies of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida still an ORP vendor? If so, it’s awfully misleading to say “every dollar raised in Ohio, stays in Ohio” when what you mean is that every dollar is spent on Ohio campaigns.

A screencap of the complete message follows; there are several references to donations remaining in-state, starting with the subject line. In the first paragraph:

Every generous dollar you donate to the Ohio Republican Party stays right here in Ohio.

In the fourth paragraph:

Every dollar goes toward ensuring we work together to advance conservative policy and support Republican candidates right here in the Buckeye State.

In the closing:

Remember, every dime you give to the Ohio Republican Party, stays in Ohio!

Out of four references to donations staying in-state, one asserts only that money will be spent on Ohio races and three suggest money will not leave the state.

I ask again: is Majority Strategies still an ORP vendor? If DeWine is still sending big bucks to a Florida consultant, this email represents unacceptable dishonesty to donors.

I do not like writing about ORP infighting; if you’re wondering why I’m bothering to follow this Democrat-fodder story, allow me to defer to Tom Blumer of BizzyBlog. During the 2010 primary I foolishly assumed I could trust the Ohio Republican Party, but Kevin DeWine taught me the error of my ways.

I’ve covered the reasons Ohio conservatives should be leery of Buerck, whose contracts with ORP appear to have resumed in 2008 before DeWine became party chairman. Unfair as it may be, there’s no statute of limitations on a blotted record – even though criminal charges were never leveled against Buerck following the scandal several years ago.

The Dispatch story quoted above mentions DeWine wouldn’t discuss whether working with Buerck had caused a stir in the Central Committee. I wonder what sort of input Committee members have had since November, whether they are willing to send millions to Buerck’s firm today, and how they feel about this email!

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