“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).