Today on Twitter, State Representative and Chairman of the House Education Committee, Andrew Brenner falsely claimed he’d taken no ECOT cash. In fact, the opposite is true.
In a tweet, Andrew claims that “ECOT never gave me a dime” in response to his Democratic opponent for the State Senate, Louise Valentine, who pointed out that he’d taken over $27,000 from ECOT founder Bill Lager.
It’s a stupid word game.
Of course ECOT–a “public school” according to state law–didn’t contribute to his or anyone else’s campaign. But Lager, its founder and the CEO of its for-profit operator, Altair Learning Management, absolutely does fund Republican candidates, generously.
That includes $12,564 to Brenner, who obviously knows better than this, but is trying to create a distraction to avoid giving the money back.
From his campaign finance reports:
The fact is, Brenner is funding his campaign for Senate with tens of thousands of ill-gotten tax dollars, which was re-routed from public schools–much of it fraudulently–via ECOT and, ultimately, to Altair and Lager’s bank account.
Louise Valentine is having none of it. Her campaign released a statement today accusing Brenner of “flatly lying” and calling on him to “donate the $27,564 he received from the CEO of ECOT to a local PTO or scholarship fund.” Read it here.
It’s worth noting that Brenner will have a tough time complying with Valentine’s demand for him to return the ECOT cash. Brenner’s campaign bank account is essentially dry after a bruising primary in which he narrowly defeated his Republican opponent. Where did the money go? Much of went right back to Andrew and his wife, Sara. From the Brenner for Ohio campaign finance reports, a sampling:
In total, since Brenner’s last election, the couple has paid or reimbursed themselves for $10,349 in expenses — $7319 to Andy and $3030 to Sara. Andrew paid himself back for $683 in cell phone charges, $5769 in mileage (that’s 11,000 miles he’s claiming to have driven for his campaign!) and $3030 for website maintenance, among other things.
That’s not including over $1,800 for meals charged to the campaign as “meeting” expenses.
No wonder they don’t want to return the ECOT money.