Ohio Veteran and ODP Speak Out Against Sen. Rob Portman’s Failure To Attend 72 Percent of Homeland Security Hearings

COLUMBUS — U.S. Army veteran Paul Worley and Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) Executive Director Greg Beswick today spoke out against Sen. Rob Portman for refusing to attend 72 percent of his Homeland Security Committee hearings.

During a press conference call held by the ODP, Worley and Beswick highlighted Portman’s chronic failure to show up for his Homeland Security hearings and his record of prioritizing the Washington power brokers and wealthy special interests he serves at the expense of America’s security.

“Just imagine the consequences if a soldier on patrol refused to do their job 72 percent of the time. The results would be disastrous,” said Paul Worley, U.S. Army veteran and Adams County Commissioner. “As an elected official charged with making vital decisions about America’s security Senator Portman needs to do his job. Freedom requires constant vigilance, and we can’t afford our elected officials putting their own interests above the fight against terrorism and extremism. We need to hold our elected officials accountable and that includes Senator Portman.”

Worley served two tours of duty in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.

“This is not just insulting to our military families, Senator Portman’s refusal to attend the vast majority of his Homeland Security hearings shows a shocking disregard for both his job and for our country’s safety,” said ODP Executive Director Greg Beswick. “It is just the latest, but one of the clearest examples of Senator Portman prioritizing his own twisted Beltway politics even at the expense of America’s national security. These dysfunctional priorities are exactly what Ohioans can’t stand about Washington insiders like Senator Portman. Repeatedly failing to show up for work when national security is on the line is a fireable offense – and we will continue to hold Senator Portman accountable for shamefully skipping out on his responsibility to our service members and America’s security.”

This is not the first time Portman has come under fire for skipping out on his Homeland Security Committee hearings. Here’s a look at what they’re saying about Portman prioritizing his own Washington politics and the wealthy special interests he serves over Ohioans and America’s security:

  • Politico: “Portman’s attendance record on the [Homeland Security Committee] is worse: He’s missed 72 percent of the hearings… POLITICO’s review of the committee attendance records from 2011 to the end of 2015, based on research from Democratic groups, committee transcripts and C-SPAN footage, included hearings and business meetings… Portman, who serves on 12 committees and subcommittees, missed 195 of the 269 hearings POLITICO included in its review.”

  • The Columbus Dispatch: “The Ohio Democratic Party is teeing off on a report that Sen. Rob Portman has missed 72 percent of his Homeland Security Committee hearings during his first five years in the Senate.”

  • The Toledo Blade reported that Sen. Portman was put on the defensive for his repeated absences: “The campaign of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R., Ohio) on Monday defended Mr. Portman’s frequent absences from Homeland Security Committee meetings… The Washington publication Politico reported in its analysis of attendance of Homeland Security Committee meetings that Mr. Portman missed 72 percent of committee hearings over the last five years: 195 of 269 hearings. The Ohio Democratic Party said Mr. Portman’s attendance record shows a “shocking disregard” for his job and the country’s safety.”

  • The Portsmouth Daily Times reported on Ohio veterans condemning Sen. Portman: “‘State Representative and former Congressman John Boccieri, who deployed multiple times in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, said, ‘It is extremely disappointing that Senator Portman didn’t take his duties on the Homeland Security Committee seriously…’”

  • The Toledo Blade also reported that Sen. Portman held fundraisers on the same days he missed critical Homeland Security Committee hearings: “Among topics covered in the missed hearings were terrorists’ access to visas, domestic terrorism threats, and national preparedness for biological and chemical threats. They occurred on Sept. 9, 2014; July 17, 2013; July 13, 2011; May 17, 2011; and Sept. 13, 2011 in Washington; and in New York on May 13, 2013.”

This story comes on the heels of a new report revealing that Sen. Portman is touting his advocacy on behalf of company that sold dangerously defective helmets to the U.S. military and that he intervened to help the company receive an additional military contract after their helmets were recalled for safety concerns.

Sen. Portman also drew heavy criticism for unilaterally negotiating with the Ayatollah of Iran; bragged that the rise of the terrorist organization ISIS would help his polling numbers; and used images of fallen American soldiers in a political advertisement.