OHIO 02 (R/PORTSMOUTH -- SCHMIDT)

Primary Concern

Schmidt lunched in DC with Turkish ambassador on primary day.

March 13, 2012, 9:32 a.m.

“While voters were cast­ing bal­lots” on March 6, Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) was in DC “at a private lunch­eon with Turk­ish Amb. Namik Tan.” The de­cision to stay in DC — and par­tic­u­larly to fo­cus on Turk­ish-Amer­ic­an re­la­tions — “is the best evid­ence yet that Schmidt simply didn’t get how much trouble she was in back home.”

‘09 Cin­cin­nati may­or nom­in­ee/Ir­aq vet/po­di­at­rist Brad Wen­strup (R) “hammered her dur­ing the cam­paign for hav­ing taken” $500K in free leg­al as­sist­ance from Turk­ish-Amer­ic­an act­iv­ists, a sum the House Eth­ics Cmte “told her to re­pay after look­ing in­to al­leg­a­tions that the money con­sti­tuted an im­prop­er gift.”

Schmidt spokes­per­son Bar­rett Brun­sman “de­clined to com­ment dir­ectly on” why Schmidt met with Tan or wheth­er she re­gret­ted at­tend­ing the lunch­eon rather than fly­ing back to Cin­cin­nati to spend the last day of the primary on the cam­paign trail. “In a lengthy email ex­change, Brun­sman didn’t ac­know­ledge that the meet­ing even took place.” Brun­sman wrote: “I think you have lost your way.”

Schmidt “has long cul­tiv­ated ties with Tur­key.” “She ran in­to eth­ics trouble when she ac­cep­ted free leg­al help from a Turk­ish-Amer­ic­an group in her law­suit against” ‘08 in­die can­did­ate/‘10 Dem can­did­ate/busi­ness­man Dav­id Krikori­an (D), who had ac­cused her of tak­ing “blood money” from Turks (Al­len, Politico, 3/12).

On The Bright Side…

Schmidt “could shrug off” the eth­ics in­vest­ig­a­tion now that she has lost her reelec­tion bid. Eth­ics ex­perts “said Schmidt is free to ig­nore” the eth­ics cmte rul­ing once she is out of of­fice in early Jan. The cmte ordered her to re­pay more than $400K in leg­al bills.

Atty Jan Baran: “When someone gradu­ates from high school, they’re no longer sub­ject to de­ten­tion.”

Brun­sman “noted” that Schmidt has a leg­al ex­pense trust, “a spe­cial ac­count she set up to raise money to pay off that debt.” He said that is evid­ence that she in­tends to re­pay the fees.

Brun­sman: “It con­tin­ues to ac­cept dona­tions. The fact that she set up the leg­al ex­pense fund demon­strates that she wants to pay these bills” (Shes­green, USA Today, 3/12).

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