Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has spent millions on attack ads that rebuke his opponent for being in the pockets of corporate interests and failing to pay his taxes.
The target of those ads, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-OH-16) has called these claims outright lies and “fake news.”
But now Renacci is turning the tables on Brown, releasing information Tuesday showing it’s Ohio’s senior senator who actually neglected to pay his taxes on time—not once, but five times.
Most recently, Brown was penalized for failing to pay property taxes in both 2016 and 2015. And in 1993, he had a tax lien filed against him that wasn’t resolved until 2005. The full list of penalties includes:
- In 2016, Brown and his wife were penalized $62.43 for a delinquent property-tax payment on their residence at 4471 Sexton Road. (Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer, Accessed 3/14/17)
- In 2015, Brown and his wife were penalized $160.80 for two delinquent property-tax payments on the same residence. (Cuyahoga County Fiscal Officer, Accessed 3/14/17)
- Brown was delinquent on property taxes for his Washington, D.C. condo in 2006, 2007 and 2011 and paid a total of $386.67 in interest and $483.25 in penalties. (District Of Columbia Office Of Tax And Revenue, Accessed 3/14/17; The Plain Dealer, 2/15/12)
- In 1993, the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services filed a $1,776.23 Unemployment Compensation Tax Lien against Brown, doing business as Brown for Congress Committee. (Unemployment Compensation Tax Lien, Lien #05291021 Ohio Bureau Of Employment Services, 12/2/93)
- The Lien was not paid until 2005. (Release of Lien, Lien #05291021 Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, 6/24/05)
Brown has outraised Renacci by more than 3 to 1 in the race for the U.S. Senate seat representing Ohio, preventing Renacci from getting his message out as fast or as widely.
He has said he is frustrated by the “fake news” ads about him not paying his taxes, a claim which has been ruled false by Ohio fact checkers.
“Liberal career politician Sherrod Brown’s hypocrisy has been on full display throughout this campaign,” said Renacci’s senior spokeswoman, Leslie Shedd. “But this may be his most egregious offense. After spending millions on TV ads that falsely accuse Jim Renacci of failing to pay his taxes, it turns out it’s Sherrod Brown who has refused to pay his taxes – on five separate occasions.”
One of the tax liens filed against Brown wasn’t resolved for 12 years.
“And Brown refused to pay his taxes while at the same time he was voting to raise taxes on Ohio families and workers,” Shedd said. “It’s hypocrisy at its worst and just one more reason why it’s time to retire Sherrod Brown.”
As for Brown’s claim that Renacci didn’t pay his taxes, the Renacci campaign provided information showing that their candidate disputed a tax fine that he was wrongfully charged, and ended up winning the case in court. This is explained in an article by Court News Ohio dated June 15, 2016, which noted that the Ohio Supreme Court ordered the state’s tax commissioner to refund nearly $360,000 to Renacci and his wife.
The Ohio Supreme Court called the tax commissioner’s actions “arbitrary and unconscionable.”
“We find that the tax commissioner’s decisions to impose and retain the double-interest penalty were arbitrary and unconscionable,” the Ohio Supreme Court said in its ruling. “We therefore reverse the decision of the BTA and remand the cause to the tax commissioner with instructions that the penalty be refunded, along with any interest paid that was associated with that penalty.”
Renacci, as he has pointed out in debates, was one of many Ohio taxpayers who challenged the illegal retroactive tax.
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.