Did Steve Chabot Create A Culture That Condoned Campaign Finance Violations?

Chabot Ducks Responsibility Now That The Shoe Is On The Other Foot

CINCINNATI — Ohio Democratic Party Chairman reminded Congressman Steve Chabot today “there is no passing the buck” about his campaign’s financial irregularities — which escaped detection despite 21 letters from the Federal Election Commission over the past six years — and emphasized Chabot’s role in creating “a system with apparently no checks and balances.”

Pepper said:

“As Steve Chabot said during last year’s campaign, the person in charge of a campaign is the candidate. That is who is accountable. That is why you’re running in the first place. That’s why your name is on the ballot. You’re holding yourself out as the leader, not just of your campaign, but enough of a leader to be a key voice leading this country. After all, you’re a sitting member of Congress.

“I don’t expect a candidate to see every line item. But for money missing at this extreme amount, for someone he empowered to an unhealthy degree — apparently with no checks and balances — accountability must start at the top.”

Two Democratic candidates running to take on Chabot in 2020, Kate Schroder and Nikki Foster, joined Pepper and Hamilton County Democratic Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin at today’s news conference in Cincinnati.

Schroder said:

“I call for a full and thorough House Ethics Committee investigation into Congressman Chabot’s campaign and congressional office spending. Chabot is accountable for dollars entrusted with him — in his campaign and in his government office. Taxpayers and donors deserve to know the truth, and Chabot should release details of payments made, to whom, and for what services.

“Steve Chabot is not a victim; he is an enabler. He has been asleep at the switch and done nothing to address the real problems facing our district, including the crumbling Brent Spence Bridge and Western Hills Viaduct.

“I am running for Congress to turn the page on the inside dealing and culture of corruption we see from Steve Chabot and too many others in Washington. It is time for change.”

Foster said:

“In the U.S. Air Force I was taught a core set of values. I was taught integrity and doing what was right even when no one was watching. This week I was reminded of these core values. I was deeply troubled to hear about these shocking allegations of betrayal of the public trust from Congressman Steve Chabot and his organization.

“His tolerance for corruption is exactly what’s wrong with Washington. Time and time again, we have seen Chabot put special interests and profit over the working families in southwest Ohio. Ohio deserves better.

“I call for an investigation. But I’m also calling on Congressman Chabot to do what’s right and resign. Mr. Chabot — Ohio is watching.”

Chabot’s attempts to evade responsibility are in stark contrast to the over-the-top attacks he and his campaign made against his opponent in 2018.

Chabot’s blog (Oct. 24, 2018):

“And I’m sure you’re aware that my opponent Aftab Pureval, is currently under investigation by both the Ohio Election Commission, as well as the Federal Election Commission, for serious violations of the law, which could lead to his being fined, or even jailed.”

At a WCPO-TV debate (Oct. 24, 2018):

“We’re dealing with a sleazy group of people here and it starts at the top of the ticket”

Chabot spokesperson (Nov. 1, 2018):

“Aftab created a culture in which illegal activity is condoned, if not encouraged.”

Chabot spokesperson (Nov. 1, 2018):

“He can’t hide behind his lawyers and canned talking points. He owes it to the voters of the 1st District to explain exactly what happened and exactly what he knows.”