The TV ad mints state Sen. Steve Buehrer on a sparkling coin, attacking the Republican congressional candidate for accepting $7,979 in donations from imprisoned GOP powerbroker Tom Noe.
The ad by rival State Rep. Bob Latta shows the heads, but not the tails, of the matter.
Before being convicted for stealing from a $50 million rare-coin investment he managed for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, Noe liberally sprinkled his largesse on conservatives, including $1,060 to Mr. Latta (R., Bowling Green).
"I'm saddened by the deceptive and hypocritical advertising by Bob Latta," Mr. Buehrer (R., Delta) said yesterday. "This is clearly a person who doesn't want to talk about the issues."
Or at least not the issues Mr. Buehrer wants to discuss. The Club for Growth, a Washington-based political action committee that endorsed Mr. Buehrer, is running TV ads calling Mr. Latta a "tax-and-spend" politician for supporting a Republican-proposed state budget in 2003, despite Mr. Latta's opposition to the estate tax and belief in conservative causes.
"We're not going to sit back and take a beating from someone who lies about Bob Latta's record," said Matt Parker, campaign manager for Mr. Latta.
With a special congressional election caused by the death of Rep. Paul Gillmor, the Nov. 6 primary has provoked a rash of negative campaigning where the full story seldom reaches the 30-second cut.
Mr. Buehrer led the BWC's human resources division, but he said he never met Noe until 2000, after he left the commission for the statehouse. The ad does not address that detail.
After Noe's criminal endeavors became public, Mr. Buehrer and Mr. Latta donated his contributions to the Safety Council of Northwest Ohio, a nonprofit that helps injured workers.
And while Mr. Buehrer is running on anti-tax policies, the coin ad notes he sponsored legislation to increase the gasoline tax, which pays for roadway improvements. Mr. Latta voted in favor of the increase.
The ad further attacks Mr. Buehrer's relationship with the Club for Growth, which is pumping more than the average household income of a 5th District resident into its advertising campaign.
"Club for Growth is an organization that wants to be relevant, wants to be kingmaker," Mr. Parker sid. "They saw this as a place where they could turn Ohio's 5th District into their own political playground."
Nachama Soloveichik, a spokesman for the club, said Mr. Latta would belong to the "obscurity caucus" if elected to Congress, while Mr. Buehrer would be an outspoken leader for free trade and limited government.
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