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Thank You

Dear Friends –

I wanted to say a final word of thanks.

When we entered this race, we knew we were taking on the best known name in Ohio politics, and we knew he would be well-funded. But I felt compelled to jump in because of the many important issues at stake.

It was a hard fought campaign, and while I’m disappointed by the outcome, I’m proud of the race we ran. I’m proud that we’ve been able to lead a substantive statewide conversation on topics like how to best keep Ohioans safe, beat back Ohio’s growing heroin epidemic, take on violence against women, and clean up government so it works for all Ohioans, just to name a few.

And people noticed. Newspapers and pundits across Ohio widely acknowledged that we ran one of the most aggressive campaigns of the 2014 cycle.

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Together, we built this campaign with the help of over 5,500 individual donors and set fundraising records for a challenger to a sitting attorney general.

We also set a record of a different kind when the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio endorsed us. This was the first time in memory that the Ohio FOP endorsed the challenger to a sitting attorney general, and it was incredibly meaningful to have the support of law enforcement across Ohio for our campaign.

And despite the tough odds and climate, and millions spent attacking us, we garnered the second most votes on the Democratic ticket.

Campaigns are about far more than any one candidate, so I want to say thank you to you, our supporters and hard-working volunteers who helped us along the way. We built an incredible network of friends across the state and country who fueled this campaign from start to finish.

As we move into November and the Holiday Season approaches, I’ll be enjoying some much needed time with Alana and Jack.

Thank you for your support, and please know that despite yesterday’s outcome, I’ll never stop fighting to build a better Ohio for all of us.

I wish you and your families the very best.  Stay in touch!

Thanks again,

David

From the Desk of Pres. Bill Clinton: I Urge You to Vote for David Pepper

Friends – 

I’m writing to urge you to support David Pepper to be Ohio’s Attorney General, your state’s top lawyer. As a former Attorney General, I know just how important the job is to keeping your state safe and protecting your rights and economic well-being.

David has already delivered impressive results in Cincinnati and Hamilton County as a city councilman and county commissioner. He led initiatives that improved safety while healing the relationship between the police and community, and he pushed for job creation and economic growth that helped spur a renaissance in Cincinnati. 

David has also laid out an impressive agenda for what he’d do as Ohio’s Attorney General. He has a comprehensive plan to battle the heroin crisis that focuses on prevention, treatment, and enforcement. David has also pledged to protect voting rights, make preventing violence against women a priority, fight for economic security for middle class families, and clean up government.

Ohio needs David in this job. Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day, and I urge you to vote for David Pepper. 

Thank you,

Bill Clinton

DISPATCH REVEALS DEWINE USING AG’S OFFICE TO PUSH PERSONAL POLITICAL AGENDA ACROSS UNITED STATES

COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper, Democratic Nominee for Ohio Attorney General, reacted to revelations that Mike DeWine has intervened or filed briefs in over 50 court cases across the country. Many of the cases deal with highly partisan issues and are apparently motivated by DeWine’s personal political agenda.

In fact, DeWine admitted that his personal beliefs drive what cases he chooses to enter. In one example, DeWine lead 19 other state attorneys general at the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case to stop women from receiving birth control coverage under their employer-provided health insurance plans. He’s also entered similarly partisan cases in Nebraska, Arizona, Michigan, and other states.

“With so much work to do to ensure safety and clean government right here in Ohio, the Attorney General should not be wasting time and money entering partisan cases across the country,” Pepper said. “As Attorney General, I will leave the political squabbling to the DC politicians while I focus on cases that truly benefit the public interests of Ohio and its residents.”

Pepper has pledged to make the Attorney General’s process for getting involved in national court cases more transparent. If elected, he will post any and all involvement in cases outside of Ohio on the Attorney General’s website so that Ohioans can easily judge for themselves whether it is an appropriate use of their tax dollars.

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LINNABARY ENDORSES PEPPER FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL

COLUMBUS – Today, Steven Linnabary, the Libertarian candidate for Ohio Attorney General, announced that he was endorsing David Pepper. Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted removed Linnabary and the Libertarian candidate for governor from the ballot earlier this year. The Libertarian Party has challenged Husted’s actions in federal court.

Linnabary made the following statement endorsing Pepper:

“Libertarians in Ohio have been targeted repeatedly by the powerful GOP machine. We’ve learned that they can’t be trusted to fairly and evenhandedly administer the law. I believe David Pepper is a man of integrity and common sense. His term in the Attorney General’s office will give all Ohio Libertarians hope that he will put rampant partisanship behind us and serve the interests of all Ohioans.”

Libertarian candidates have been repeatedly and unfairly targeted by Republican officeholders. In 2013, the GOP-controlled General Assembly changed signature requirements for Libertarians, an unconstitutional law that was later overturned by federal courts. In 2014, Secretary Husted targeted Libertarian candidates for removal from the ballot. Brad Smith, the hearing officer assigned to the case by Husted, was simultaneously serving as an attorney for Mike DeWine, a fact he failed to disclose.

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Mad Men

For three months, the harassment took place, laced with violent language, often in uncomfortably close physical proximity.

“You know you will do your job or you will be smacked,” the new employee was warned, hand raised.

“You know there is nothing more fun than smacking a woman, that is, except for punching them.”

The section supervisor knew about the behavior, but did nothing for months. He even told one colleague he didn’t want to create “a no-fun zone” in the office.

Was this a recent Mad Men episode, depicting a hostile workplace of decades past?

Sadly, no. This was the Ohio Attorney General’s Office…last year…the Employment Law Section, of all places. The Section that advises other state agencies on how to create harassment-free workplaces.

Ultimately, an investigation by a sexual harassment investigator found that both the supervisor and harasser were in the wrong. But little came of it. For his months of hostility, the harasser was only suspended for 5 “working” days. The supervisor, incredibly, managed to “appeal” and get his finding overturned (the only overturned finding in five years)—no punishment whatsoever for turning the other way.

And the victim, not surprisingly, has left the office.

This horrific story of workplace harassment broke last Friday in papers across the state. And with Ohio women asking questions, AG DeWine’s excuses have only begged more questions.

Why did the harasser only get a 5-day “working” suspension? According to DeWine: “The comments weren’t directed toward any one person in the sense that he said he was going to hurt anybody or hurt the person.”

Actually, they were clearly directed at the same victim again and again for months. And she was told SHE “would be smacked.” DeWine has clearly not reviewed the facts of the case, or he is simply insensitive to their seriousness.

But beyond that, DeWine seems to suggest that if the comments were generally misogynistic and violent, that should not command serious accountability. Also deeply troubling.

And as for the supervisor, DeWine stated he was entitled to a “fair process.” But the AG’s Policy on Harassment does not even give the supervisor a right to appeal those investigative findings. So this politically connected supervisor benefitted from an “appeal’ process not even permitted by the office’s policy—and got off scot-free because of his second bite at the apple.

At a time where there remains far too much violence against women in our workplaces and in our communities generally, talk of violence and harassment in the Attorney General’s Office are absolutely unacceptable.

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And so I will make three things clear from day 1:

1) Supervisors will report harassment and violence, or be held accountable.

2) Perpetrators will be held immediately accountable for their words or actions.

3) Victims will know that their well-being will be my top concern—not the fate of supervisors who looked the other way.

I will also overhaul the Employment Law Section so that it is staffed with leaders with the expertise and judgment to guide agencies across the state in creating harassment-free workplaces across state government.

Time for a change.

DEWINE EXPLANATION OF WEAK HARASSMENT RESPONSE MISSTATES FACTS, UNDERSCORES PROBLEMS IN OFFCE

COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper’s campaign issued the following statement regarding Mike DeWine’s response to on-going harassment issues in the Attorney General’s Office. Last week, the Associated Press revealed that an attorney in DeWine’s office repeatedly threatened a legal secretary. A senior DeWine aide who was aware of the threats was disciplined for not reporting them, but later was allowed to have the punishment overturned.

Specifically, DeWine told WBNS 10TV that threats “weren’t directed at any one person in the sense that he was going to hurt anybody.” However, news reports and the incident file demonstrate that the threats went on for a period of several months and were aimed directly at a female employee. Amongst other things, she was told, “You know you will do your job or you will be smacked.”

After months of prodding by female colleagues, the attorney who made these threats was given a “working suspension” and remains on the AG’s payroll. The victim no longer works there.

Timothy Lecklider, the senior DeWine aide who failed to report the threats, told a colleague he didn’t want to create a “no fun zone” in the office.

Peter Koltak, Pepper’s Communications Director, made the following statement:

“Violent threats often precede violence itself. Leadership starts at the top, and Mike DeWine’s alarmingly dismissive attitude about threats against women explains why a harassment culture has overtaken his office. In 2014, the Ohio Attorney General should recognize that women deserve to be treated with respect, not be repeatedly victimized to preserve the office’s ‘fun zone.’”

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PEPPER: HARASSMENT CASES, THREATS OF VIOLENCE SHOW NEED FOR OVERHAUL, ACCOUNTABILITY IN AG’S OFFICE

COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper, Democratic Nominee for Ohio Attorney General, joined women from across Ohio to criticize a troubling pattern of harassment cases and short-circuited investigations in the Attorney General’s Office:

“These startling incidents are starting to resemble a workplace out of the 1950s when it comes to women. It’s long past time to end a “Mad Men” culture which keeps rearing its ugly head in the Attorney General’s Office,” Pepper said.

“The attorney general can’t lead the fight to prevent violence against women if he doesn’t protect the women who work in his own office. Threats of violence are never acceptable and should never be swept under the rug. I will order a complete internal investigation of these incidents and any others—and bring in outside experts to do a top-to-bottom review of the office’s harassment policies and practices—to ensure that we are taking every possible step to create a safe, harassment-free working environment in the AG’s office.”

Last Thursday, the Associated Press reported details of a case in which an attorney in the Employment Law Section made repeated threats of physical violence against a legal secretary—specifically referring to “punching” and “slapping” women. A senior DeWine aide was aware of the incidents, but failed to report them, and told some employees he didn’t want to create a “no fun zone” in the Attorney General’s office. He was initially disciplined, but, in an unusual move, was later allowed to have his case reinvestigated. The attorney who made the threats remains an AG employee, while the victim no longer works there.

This is the second major harassment case to be uncovered in the office, after a case involving the harassment of a female intern was revealed earlier this year. In that case, DeWine himself demanded to know the name of a confidential informant and met with that informant. The case went unresolved, and the intern never returned.

As a centerpiece of his agenda, Pepper has pledged to make preventing violence against women a priority. In April, he released his plan to make Ohio a leader in preventing domestic abuse and sexual assaults.

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A Note from Judge Nathaniel R. Jones

Dear Friends,

Mike DeWine has unleashed a scurrilous attack on David.  The commercial, among other things, calls David inexperienced, untrustworthy, and wrong for Ohio.  The ad is entitled “Unqualified.”  Its absurdity is apparent.

Unqualified?  David Pepper is one of the most qualified people to ever run for Attorney General in the history of our state.  I had the honor of having him serve as my law clerk back when I was on the Federal Court of Appeals. I saw his legal mind operate close up.  He and I later became colleagues at one of our nation’s most respected law firms, and have taught election law together at the University of Cincinnati’s law school.  In addition, he has been an outstanding public servant.

We are lucky to have someone of his intellect, experience, and integrity willing to serve our state.  David will bring a wave of fresh thinking and integrity to the office of Attorney General.

Mike DeWine, who is in the midst of a real pay-to-play scandal, has a lot of nerve calling David untrustworthy. But what I find most appalling is his calling David “wrong for Ohio.”  David and the policies he is advocating are what will be right for Ohio.

The real problem with Mike DeWine is that he has spent his time being not only wrong for Ohio, but wrong for the country.  Rather than fighting for the people of Ohio, he has been fighting against the people in Ohio, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Michigan, and Arizona.

In every one of those states he has been getting lots of experience by taking part, and often times taking the lead, in fighting against voting rights, a woman’s right to access to birth control and the right to choose, and fighting against the rights of all to marry who they see fit.  DeWine took the lead role amongst the State Attorneys General in supporting Hobby Lobby in the Supreme Court!

To borrow a phrase from DeWine’s ad, that’s “wrong for Ohio,” and also wrong for the entire country.

Please stand with me, and stand with David.

Sincerely,

Nathaniel R. Jones
Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Ret.)

LAW ENFORCEMENT AND LEGAL LEADERS PRAISE PEPPER’S RECORD, CONDEMN MISLEADING DEWINE AD

COLUMBUS – Today, leaders in Ohio’s law enforcement and legal community lined up to condemn Mike DeWine’s attacks on David Pepper’s record. Specifically, DeWine attacked Pepper’s accomplished legal career and record as a Hamilton County Commissioner. Yesterday, WBNS 10TV rated these claims about Pepper’s leadership of Hamilton County as “grossly misleading.”

Jay McDonald, President of the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio, made the following statement praising Pepper’s public safety record and his leadership in a fight to protect Hamilton County sheriff’s deputies from lay-offs:

“David Pepper is a tough, effective leader who isn’t afraid to fight for police officers, sheriff’s deputies, and safer Ohio communities.  During tough times, it was David Pepper who fought to limit layoffs and get sheriff’s deputies back to work. Pepper has the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, including those members at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, because of the leadership he has shown time and time again throughout his career in public service.”

Overall, Pepper helped lead the turnaround of Cincinnati by putting more police officers on the street while improving police-community relations. As Chair of the Public Safety Committee and President of the Hamilton County Commission, he also passed laws and initiatives that locked up violent offenders.

Judge Nathaniel Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (retired) praised Pepper’s diverse and accomplished legal career:

“Considering David’s rich experience as a lawyer and his record of public service, it is my firm conclusion that Pepper is an extraordinarily gifted and experienced lawyer who would serve Ohio’s interests well as Attorney General. Indeed, based on his broader and far more recent litigation experience, he would serve those interests in a manner incapable of being replicated by the incumbent.”

Since taking the Ohio bar exam in 1999, Pepper has practiced at two national law firms with a focus on civil/commercial litigation, making numerous appearances in state and federal trial and appellate courts. Recently (during the current campaign), Pepper single-handedly won an election law case in US District Court in Cincinnati, successfully overturning an unconstitutional election statute.

From 1996 to 2007, Mike DeWine failed to keep his law license active and was not legally allowed to practice law in Ohio. DeWine only reentered the practice shortly before running for attorney general, and he has presented to no evidence that he has tried any cases or made any court appearances in decades.

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FACT CHECK: DEWINE AD DESPERATELY BLAMES PEPPER FOR DEWINE’S SON’S FAILED LEADERSHIP

COLUMBUS – Today, David Pepper’s campaign responded to a new ad from the DeWine campaign attacking Pepper for past budget cuts made while Pepper was a Hamilton County Commissioner. The cuts were required after a period of fiscal mismanagement by prior commissioners, including DeWine’s son, Pat.  Pat DeWine helped defeat a bipartisan plan that could have avoided the cuts Mike DeWine is now attacking.

Peter Koltak, Pepper’s Communications Director, made the following statement:

“Newspapers across Ohio have caught DeWine rewarding his donors with big contracts, so now he’s desperately attacking Pepper’s widely-praised record of fiscal management during tough times. Ironically, DeWine is blaming Pepper for the direct results of Pat DeWine’s reckless management of Hamilton County’s finances.”

THE FACTS:

FACT: The Fraternal Order of Police, Troopers for a Safer Ohio, and the Toledo Police Command Officers Association endorsed Pepper for Attorney General. This is the first time in memory that the FOP has endorsed the challenger to a sitting attorney general. Law enforcement leaders have cited Pepper’s plan to tackle the heroin crisis and his leadership in improving Cincinnati’s public safety and police-community relations as reasons for supporting him.

FACT: Pat DeWine depleted Hamilton County’s reserve fund and created a public safety budget crisis with a wasteful jail rental agreement. DeWine entered into an overly expensive and wasteful agreement to rent jail space from Butler County that cost up to $6 million per year. (Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/8/07). The agreement required Hamilton County to pay for 400 beds per night, even if they weren’t being used, and drained the county reserve fund to pay for it.

FACT: Pepper helped craft a bipartisan plan to avoid public safety cuts in Hamilton County. The plan, Issue 27, would have ended jail overcrowding, saved sheriff’s deputies’ jobs, and replenished the county reserve fund. It was endorsed by both the Hamilton County Republican and Democratic Parties, a bipartisan group of county officials, the Republican county sheriff, local business leaders, and the Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati Enquirer, 5/31/07). Pepper was praised for his political courage and leadership for trying to avoid the cuts (Cincinnati Enquirer, 6/3/2007).

FACT: Pat DeWine mislead Hamilton County voters about the effect of public safety cuts. DeWine claimed public safety cuts could be avoided without passing Issue 27. When it failed, Hamilton County’s budget was unable to sustain its prior spending. To save money, Pepper ended DeWine’s irresponsible Butler County arrangement. A year later, as the recession took hold and with the reserve fund still drained, the county also cancelled an agreement with the Corrections Corporation of America leasing a facility called Queensgate—a 100-year old warehouse that was originally intended as temporary housing for overflow inmates. Layoffs of sheriff’s deputies accompanied that decision.

FACT: Pepper stopped a Pat DeWine plan to cut even more sheriff’s deputies. In 2009, DeWine attempted to cut $668,000 in funding for the Hamilton County Sheriff that had been set aside to save jobs in the department. DeWine also attempted to institute yet another wasteful jail rental agreement (Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/23/08). Pepper blocked DeWine’s plan and saved the jobs.

FACT: Under Pepper’s leadership, Hamilton County won 19 national awards for outstanding management practices. The National Association of Counties recognized Hamilton County for its commitment to good government, transparency, and sound fiscal management. As a commissioner, Pepper was so frugal, he even took turns staffing the commission office’s front desk after that full-time position was eliminated (Cincinnati Enquirer, 9/10/09). Moody’s praised his fiscally responsible policies.

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