ICYMI: New Associated Press Report Highlights Gibbons, Timken And Vance’s Entanglements With Russia
March 16, 2022
Business Ties To Russia Could Be A Major Vulnerability For The GOP Senate Candidates
Columbus, OH — A new Associated Press report shines a light on millionaires Jane Timken, Mike Gibbons and J.D. Vance for their Russian business deals as the country escalates its war in Ukraine.
The AP notes that Timken “reported owning roughly 2,800 shares in Timken Co., whose stock price initially rose after the Feb. 24 invasion” and faces mounting questions over her family company’s business dealings in Russia. Vance helped fund what Cleveland.com describes as “a main platform for RT, the propaganda arm of the Russian government.” Gibbons’ financial firm in 2011 announced a business deal involving a company that specializes in pipes for the Russian oil industry.
Following the AP’s investigation of Timken’s entanglement, a week after a viral list noted Timken Co. was still doing business in Russia, and three weeks after Putin began his invasion of Ukraine, the Canton Repository last night reported that Jane Timken’s family company has finally been shamed into pausing operations in Russia.
“Millionaires Jane Timken, Mike Gibbons and J.D. Vance are complete frauds – shamelessly cashing in on business deals with Russia while tens of thousands of Ukrainian Americans in Ohio mourn Putin’s relentless invasion. It’s clear that no matter the issue, Timken, Gibbons and Vance will sell out Ohioans if it means they can enrich themselves,” said Michael Beyer, a spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
Associated Press: Russia business deals muddy GOP US Senate primary in Ohio
By Julie Carr Smyth
March 15, 2022
- Several Republicans competing for the party’s nomination to run for U.S. Senate in Ohio are facing scrutiny for their ties to Russia as the country intensifies its war against Ukraine.
- Much of the attention has focused on former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, whose husband’s family founded a company that does business in Russia. But other candidates in the race to succeed retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman, including J.D. Vance and Mike Gibbons, also have links to business deals in Russia that could become vulnerabilities in the May 3 primary.
- While domestic issues generally dominate midterm political contests, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — with its harrowing images of civilian casualties — has become an animating subject of the competitive Senate race in Ohio, which has a large Ukrainian American population. In a race with several millionaire candidates, the war is highlighting the risks that come with being wealthy and having tangled investment interests involving foreign countries.
- The easiest target has long been Timken, whose husband sits on the board of the like-named Fortune 500 ball bearing manufacturer based in North Canton, Ohio. Even before Ukraine, her adversaries sought to pin the Timken Co.’s international business dealings on Timken.
- Timken Co. last week suspended its operations in Russia, where it has a manufacturing plant and an 8-year-old relationship with United Wagon Co., a Moscow-based manufacturer and servicer of freight cars. The company signed the deal in 2014, around the time Russia seized Crimea.
- Conservative PACs, mostly backing Republican Josh Mandel in the race, pilloried Timken in attack ads as “shameless” for outwardly supporting Ukraine and calling for tough sanctions on Russia while making money off her investments in the company. She has reported owning roughly 2,800 shares in Timken Co., whose stock price initially rose after the Feb. 24 invasion.
- After Timken criticized Vance for voicing indifference to the fate of Ukraine in the days leading up to the invasion, a Vance ally tweeted, “No candidate has business ties in Russia except for Jane Timken. Her husband’s company has provided steel for their tanks, rail, and military.” The attacks continued from the left, with one labor union ally trying to label Timken “Russia Jane.”
- But Vance has business interests in Russia of his own.
- In May 2021, he joined Peter Thiel and other prominent conservative venture capitalists and invested in the video platform Rumble, a YouTube alternative favored by the political right. After tech companies including Meta and Twitter limited Russia’s state-controlled news network RT to minimize the spread of propaganda, the Russian government announced it would move to Rumble.
- Gibbons, another Senate candidate, is distancing himself from a Russian business deal announced by his company, Brown Gibbons Lang & Company, in 2011.
- HMS specializes in pipes for the Russian oil industry and one of its main customers is Gazprom, the state-owned gas giant and majority owner of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, whose operation was suspended because of the war.
- Lost in the ad attacks against Timken is the fact that their intended beneficiary, Mandel, has taken thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Timken family members, employees and PACs over the years.
- Among other entanglements, the real estate company owned at the time by the family of Mandel’s then-wife, Ilana, sold off its stake in the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center to Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov in 2016. The billionaire has since sold the assets.