COLUMBUS (TDB) -- Ronald Reagan used to invoke the 11th Commandment -- thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican. The Ohio Elections Commission -- a panel that is supposed to keep state campaigns on the straight and narrow -- has found the top two GOP candidates in OH-05 have trouble honoring No. 8 on the list from the Old Testament. The one that says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."
Last month, the OEC said State Sen. Steve Buehrer and his chief financial backer, the Club for Growth PAC, sponsored ads containing false information about State Rep. Bob Latta's vote on tax legislation. Today, the OEC reprimanded Latta for distributing campaign literature that made false claims about Buehrer. The political flyers said Buehrer opposed school prayer and "didn't want" the Ten Commandments posted in public schools.
There is some irony in today's OEC decision that benefited Buehrer on the last day before the primary election. Last month, the Club for Growth ripped the OEC as being in the tank for Latta. Of course, the panel proved today it was unbiased and willing to smack down questionable rhetoric from either Republican.
The Toledo Blade's Jim Provance reports the OEC stopped short of recommending criminal prosecution against Latta.
"Today's reprimand marks the most severe stance taken to date by the bipartisan commission in dueling complaints filed by both sides. . . The commission had the option of referring either candidate for possible criminal prosecution, but opted not to."
H/T to Jeff Coryell at Ohio Daily Blog for spotting the Provance story when it appeared today. No matter which Republican wins the primary, they will be under a cloud for the next round. An official body has determined they lied to gain political advantage. So the GOP is not exactly holding the ethical high ground in a special election set for Dec. 11 against the Democratic party's likely nominee Robin Weirauch.