Ohio Speaker Candidate Ryan Smith Would Rather Lose the House Majority than Concede Defeat

Even Smith Supporters Condemn Slash and Burn Tactics

By Connor Brown

 

On March 12, 2018, Ryan Smith and Cliff Rosenberger were in Tuscarawas County to endorse Shane Gunnoe for State Representative.  Thereafter, on March 27, 2018,

 a Super PAC named Conservative Alliance PAC was formed with the Federal Elections Commission by Virginia GOP attorney Chris Marston.  

 

Somehow though, this PAC was able to start spending hundreds of thousands of dollars  against Shane Gunnoe’s primary opponent Brett Hillyer and in other districts

across the state starting on March 23, 2018 or earlier.  Here’s a copy of the contract signed in HD 98 on March 23 for radio time.  And here’s a copy of the contract signed

for HD83 on March 23 for radio time.  Pictured below is a mail piece that has already hit mailboxes in HD50:

 

 

 

And here is the link to listen and read the text of a Robocall going out in HD98.

 

This so called conservative Super PAC has no website and no Facebook page.  The address on the direct mail piece is a rent a private mail box service in Upper Arlington. 

When we ran the phone number placed in the robo call it came back to a burner phone under the name “Brett Hillier” with an address at another rent a mail box place in

Willoughby.  

 

At the same time, the Conservative Alliance PAC filed their first quarterly report with the Federal Elections Commission documenting activity from March 1 through

March 31, 2018.  They reported 0 contributions and 0 expenditures.  How can that be possible?

 

The simple answer is that it isn’t possible.  Election lawyers, political mail houses, media buyers, and political telemarketers all get paid in advance.  

 

The contributions to pay for this activity would have had to be received between March 1st and March 31st.  Additionally, the expenditures for all of these radio, print,

and robo calls would have also occurred between March 1st and March 31st .  Both these contributions and the expenditures should have appeared in the first quarterly

report filed with the Federal Elections Commission and with the Ohio Secretary of State.  Failure to file these reports truthfully violates both Federal and State election laws.

 

What exactly are Ryan Smith and his allies hiding? 

 

This campaign also has signs that it may be backfiring.  Even Smith supporters object to these efforts. Below is a screenshot from Ohio House candidate Gina Collinsworth

repudiating these ads:

 

And in the picture above the Chairman of the Tuscarawas County Republican Party also repudiated these ads.  

 

Conservative Alliance PAC has some unique Ohio connections too.  The ads being placed on behalf of the Conservative Alliance PAC were bought by Dillon Lloyd of GRP

Buying, LLC.  GRP was formed in the State of Delaware in 2015 but never registered to do business in Ohio. Dillon actually works for Medium Buying which is owned by

 Nick Everhart.  

 

Nick Everhart is the former President of the Strategy Group for Media, run by Rex Elsass.  Nick was fired from that job, sued, then prosecuted for a felony for stealing

computer records after he was terminated.  

 

Before his non-compete ran out and he started his own media buying and content creation firms, he worked for awhile for Majority Strategies.  Majority Strategies CEO is

Brett Buerck, the former Chief of Staff and consultant for Speaker Larry Householder.  Householder cut ties with Buerck in 2004 and reportedly has not spoken to him since.

 

These same tactics are eerily similar to those being taken by another federal Super PAC named the Honor and Principles PAC.  This Super PAC was formed on

March 26, 2018 by Lisa Lisker.  Lisker is the President of GOP compliance firm Huckaby Davis Lisker, and serves as campaign treasurer for Marco Rubio, John Boehner’s

Freedom Project, and many other GOP groups and candidates.

 

The Super PAC has also retained attorney James E. Tyrrell, III with Clark Hill.  Tyrrell formerly clerked for the Chairman of the Federal Elections Commission according to

his bio.

 

Like the other Smith tied Super PAC, this one has no website, no Facebook page, no Twitter account, and apparently no physical address in Ohio.  But it has been running

truly nasty radio and TV ads that attempt to compare the closing of the Hillary Clinton email investigation to the closing of the Householder investigation.  

 

Ryan Smith and the secretive Super PAC’s that are backing his candidates have apparently decided that he will either win the speaker’s office or bring down the House

Majority with him. 

 

It’s a truly sad situation.