Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Wednesday, September 13

Atty Gen: Montgomery (R) Puts Her Foot In It With False Accusation

The attorney general campaign of State Auditor Betty Montgomery (R-Toledo) really thought they were onto something when they issued a press release today accusing her opponent, State Sen.Marc Dann (D-Liberty Township), of accepting campaign contributions from "convicted racketeer Sam Lucarelli." Just one problem, though ... it isn't true.

“The contributions we received were not from Samuel G. Lucarelli, they were from Samuel L. Lucarelli, a law abiding citizen and reputable businessperson who has now been falsely accused of being a criminal by Betty Montgomery,” writes Dann campaign spokesperson Leo Jennings. “She was in such a desperate rush to smear Senator Dann that she didn’t bother to check her facts. She owes Mr. Lucarelli and his family as well as Senator Dann an immediate apology.”

Sam the contributor is not Sam the felon but his law-abiding nephew, as Montgomery's staff could easily have determined. The Dann campaign has returned the contribution, in any event, because of the Lucarelli family's connection to a managed-care organization certified to perform work for the scandal-plagued Bureau of Workers Compensation.

Jennings also noted other falsehoods in Montgomery’s press release. The mistruths begin with the headline ("Dann ducks responsibility for accepting contributions from convicted racketeer”) and continue with each of the following:
* That Senator Dann had “accepted tens of thousands in tainted campaign funds from Lucarelli”;

* That his “connection to the convicted racketeer may disqualify him from chairing the Ohio Organized Crime Commission”;

* That Senator Dann had ignored evidence of Lucarelli’s federal racketeering conviction;

* That “Either Senator Dann didn’t bother to do basic research, or he knew of the conviction and chose to accept the contributions anyway -— both equally troubling prospects for someone who aspires to be the top lawyer for the State of Ohio and the future chair of the Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission ... ”
Since the contributions did not come from the Sam Lucarelli who was convicted of a crime, those assertions all fall like dominoes.

I'd set up a betting pool on when Montgomery issues an apology, except I don't think she has enough class to make one. We'll see.

UPDATE: No apology, but Montgomery is dropping the accusation.

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