Democrats running in the 2018 midterm elections all seem to be reading from the same script, and one of the lines in that script is that they have “signed a pledge not to accept money from corporate PACs.”
Aftab Pureval, running against Rep. Steve Chabot [R-OH-1] and Betsy Rader, trying to unseat Rep. David Joyce [R-OH-14] have both signed such pledges.
Media outlets have lapped up their press releases about “no corporate cash” like thirsty dogs in a desert.
One headline from the left-leaning Politico screamed “Keep Your Damn Money! Dems Reject Corporate PACs as they Rally Around Anti-Corruption Message.”
The goal of these pledges is to seize the moral high ground from Republicans by defining the terms of what is moral. For Rader and Pureval, accepting money from a new Ohio Planned Parenthood PAC, will somehow be morally superior to a Republican accepting money from an insurance company.
Planned Parenthood announced Friday it will be raising $1.5 million in a new PAC that will target the midterm elections in Ohio. Pureval is one of the candidates Planned Parenthood listed as wanting to help, along with Richard Cordray for governor and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
But it appears Ohio’s Democrat congressional candidates can’t even live up to their own warped definition of what’s moral.
The Ohio Star reported earlier this week on Rader’s multiple violations of her own pledge.
That brings us to Pureval.
Like Rader, he is accusing his Republican opponent, Steve Chabot, of being corrupted by “corporate PAC money” while claiming himself to have lily-white hands.
In June, he issued the following self-righteous tweet about Chabot:
Steve Chabot took hundreds of thousands from the oil and gas lobby then gave them $25 billion in tax cuts. We need to end this rigged system and stand up for middle class families. That’s why I’m running for Congress. https://t.co/CS0Tv6jeNE
— Aftab Pureval (@AftabPureval) June 3, 2018
Chabot fired back this week with a TV ad claiming Pureval has “accepted $200,000 from Washington special interests” while allegedly skirting federal campaign finance laws.
Watch the 30-second ad below:
So, to be fair, let’s take a peek at where Pureval’s campaign cash is coming from and compare it to where Chabot’s is coming from.
According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, Pureval overwhelmingly gets his money from labor unions, law firms, the University of Cincinnati and liberal single-issue ideological organizations. Chabot gets his from businesses and conservative single-issue ideological organizations.
Whether you consider a business more evil than a labor union probably depends on your own ideological bent and worldview. Socialists tend to view business as evil whereas capitalists view unions as more of a corrupting influence.
Pureval’s top donor is listed as $38,185 from Proctor and Gamble, the consumer-products company he once represented as an attorney. Last we checked, Proctor and Gamble was a corporation, which would seem to be a pretty clear violation of his pledge to not accept corporate cash.
Second on Pureval’s list of contributors is Chavez Properties, which also sounds like a business. It donated $19,750, followed by Bartlett & Co., $17,800; the University of Cincinnati, $17,425; AK Steel, $12,850; Parking Company of America, $12,400; and White and Case, a law firm which Pureval once worked for, donated $11,325. Most of these are business interests, but because they donated directly, not through a PAC, Pureval can technically claim he hasn’t accepted “corporate PAC money.”
He’s also received $10,800 from mega-bank Wells Fargo and $10,000 from the American Federation of Teachers union, another law firm donation of $9,450 from Frost Brown Todd LLC in Columbus and on and on it goes.
You can see the full list of contributors to both Pureval and Chabot here. As for which is the most moral candidate, it truly depends on your politics.
Anthony Accardi is a staff writer for the Ohio Star.