Ohio Democratic Party Deputy Communications Director Brian Hester is one of the most active Ohio Democrats on Twitter. Last night, in a bizarre twitter argument with a parody account of flailing Democrat AG candidate David Pepper, Hester made an epic slip — one that could lead to legal action.
It is well known in Ohio political circles that the dark money group Moving Ohio Forward is largely funded by David Pepper’s family. But in an intricate scheme to both run attack ads and protect its donors’ identify, MOF has moved nearly half a million dollars to a sister super PAC, Moving Ohio Forward Action, which is financing a despicably false attack on incumbent Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Even the Plain Dealer called the ad “mightily misleading”, “grossly misleading”, “extremely misleading”, an “inaccurate portrayal” and states that “It’s hard to find substance in an ad that strays so far from the boundaries of truth and good taste.”
Here’s the catch: David Pepper has refused to admit that his family is behind the ad, because if he did it would likely trigger any number of legal coordination violations, since campaigns and independent expenditures supporting them are not allowed to communicate. If 182 tickets and $10,000 in parking fines
weren’t enough, proof of this sort of illegal campaign activity would be a major disqualifier for a man vying for the job of Ohio’s top law enforcement officer.
Back to Hester’s slip: he publicly admits that Pepper’s mother, Francine Pepper, is financing the independent expenditure. See his tweet below.
It remains to be seen where this will go, but it’s clear that a bad year for Ohio Democrats probably just got a lot worse.