On Thursday the Ohio Elections Commission heard a complaint from State Sen. Lou Gentile’s Republican opponent, Shane Thompson.
There’s nothing unusual about Ohio Elections Commission complaints – especially this close to Election Day. However, what was striking and perhaps unprecedented was that Shane Thompson HIMSELF was present yesterday at the OEC hearing.
Candidates simply don’t do this. They let the lawyers duke it out and present the case on their behalf. (After all, candidates should be busy meeting voters, right?) It leaves me wondering Why Shane Thompson was so defensive that he felt compelled to personally appear in Columbus yesterday?
Keep in mind the 30th Senate District isn’t across town or anything. A trip from Thompson’s home in St. Clairsville to downtown Columbus takes more than two hours, according to Google Maps.
That’s a lot of time to spend on an unnecessary trip less than two weeks out from Election Day. Doesn’t Thompson have better ways to spend his time, like… ummm… talking to voters? Maybe he should spend some time in Athens, for example, where a newspaper wrote a glowing piece about Sen. Gentile that ended with:
“Numerous attempts were made to contact Thompson for an interview but after initially indicating he would participate, the candidate did not answer additional attempts by The Messenger.”
Another Athens newspaper had this to say, when it endorsed Gentile:
“If you don’t know much about [Shane Thompson], it’s probably related to the fact that any campaigning he’s done in Athens County has been either light or non-existent. Here at The Athens NEWS, we haven’t heard a peep from Thompson, which is unusual in a high-profile Senate race like this one.”
As for the complaint itself, the OEC did find “probable cause” – which in layman’s terms means that they want to hear more about the case. It doesn’t mean they came to any sort of conclusion on the complaint itself.
And exactly what was this complaint that was SO IMPORTANT that it caused Shane Thompson continued to ignore the voters he wants to elect him?
The complaint centers around a Gentile Campaign ad saying that Thompson lobbied Washington for millions of dollars of federal stimulus money.
Indeed, Mr. Thompson’s company, Toxco, did get federal stimulus money. In fact, Thompson BRAGGED about getting the money ($9.5 Million) and even thanked local governments for joining his company’s lobbying effort.
To be clear: I have no problem with companies like Shane’s applying for and receiving federal dollars for what appears to be an excellent business idea that brings jobs to Ohio. But you can’t simultaneously be against Government programs like the stimulus while asking for, and taking money from the same programs.
There’s also this inconvenient truth: Thompson’s bio for the “Political Paparazzi” radio show stated the following:
“Shane also runs the governmental affairs group within the company [Toxco] and this helps him stay in the loop on all things Washington.” The bio has been removed, but we grabbed a screen shot (see below).
Lobbying, official or unofficial, is the cornerstone of “government affairs” work.
I’ll leave it to the OEC to pass final judgement here, determining who Thompson met with and what he asked for in the course of his “government affairs” work. But common sense tells us that if he walks like a lobbyist and talks like a lobbyist, he just might be involved in some lobbying.