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Sunday, February 10, 2008

OH-02 GOP Tom Brinkman: Ohio Christian Newspaper Declares Him 'Our Pick'

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Christian Citizen calls the March 4 primary "a critical time for conservatives and the Value Voters," and has picked State Rep. Tom Brinkman in the OH-o2 contest against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt. The newspaper -- which appears irregularly and is distributed through evangelical churches in SW and southern Ohio -- quietly put out the word for Brinkman last week. It describes the suburban Cincinnati lawmaker as a "conservative's conservative" and seems to say that Schmidt is not a really a Republican.

The endorsement may gain the term-limited Brinkman some attention -- he is a serious underdog, seriously underfunded and widely considered headed for defeat barring a political comeback of epic proportions. Here's what the Christian publication said:

"The 2nd Congressional District race is another hotly contested race where Republicans are trying to take that district from incumbent Jean Schmitt (sic). . . However, our pick for that race is Tom Brinkman. Also a former Ohio State Representative, Brinkman stands for lower taxes and no abortions. He has taken a pledge to 'oppose any and all efforts to increase marginal tax rates for individuals and/or businesses and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates." Brinkman is known as a conservative's conservative and he wants to win the primary in the 2nd Congressional District becauses he fears that district could be lost to the Democrats due to a weak showing of Congresswoman Schmidt."

It is not elegant prose. And there is an error -- Brinkman is not a former rep.


  1. The newsletter appears to get direct and indirect funding from churches. Could this violate election laws (it is my understanding that churches cannot endorse candidates)?

  2. I suppose a church can freely invest or spend money on a newsletter, or newspaper, but there could be some thorny and interesting legal issues involving the First Amendment. It appears to me that a political ad may not be protected. On the other hand, an editorial in a church newspaper could very well be protected speech. One example: Rev. Moon and the church he heads I believe have long financially supported he Washington Times. And I don't know that anyone has ever made an argument that it is violating the law because of its political endorsements, or stands, or views and opinions. I think Citizen USA or Christian Citizen would probably meet the newspaper test, so it probably has quite a bit of leeway to espouse opinions and support whomever it wants. If an ad appeared, however, that such and such church was supporting so and so, the ad probably could lead to a bit of trouble with the IRS over direct political activity by the church.

  3. I suppose the key factor is who makes the endorsement (i.e. whether it's an independent writer or a church official) rather than how the paper is financed.

    I suppose some would consider it a loophole but it does make it easier to monitor.

  4. I just found this so commenting now is long past this conversation. However, we are entering another election season, so I want to clarify the issue of our newspaper as it relates to the churches we are in.
    The Christian Citizen USA (Citizen USA) is a For Profit C-Corp. We rely on advertising and subscribers for income. Some churches subscribe (which we are trying to switch to across the board) but historically we have been delivered free to churches and other locations. The newspaper can endorse. Just because a church has us in their book store or lobby does not mean they are endorsing a particular candidate. It would be no different if a church carried the Cincinnati Enquirer or DDNews in its book store. Of course some skittish pastors or liberal trouble makers can and have made a big deal out of our right to free speech and the churches right to have any material they choose to have in their lobbies.
    Pendra Lee Snyder, Publisher