David Pepper, the Democrat hoping to unseat Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Nov. 4, fired back Thursday at DeWine and his campaign's reach back to an old story about parking tickets.
DeWine is deflecting, Pepper said.
"As a busy Cincinnati councilman I unfortunately received a number of parking tickets and paid a significant price," Pepper said. "But unlike DeWine, I've never had a chauffeur and SUV supplied by taxpayers."
DeWine won't talk about a sexual harassment investigation inside his own office, Pepper said, and he's hoping to distract voters with a phony complaint in a paid ad about parking tickets.
"With the problems he's created, the last thing Mike DeWine should be worried about is parking tickets," Pepper said.
DeWine's campaign launched a video ad this week targeting Pepper.
The ad contends Pepper had more than 180 infractions and $10,000 in fines while he served as a Cincinnati councilman and since.
"I received the tickets and paid the fines," Pepper told the Register.
DeWine has refused to answer specific questions about his involvement in a sexual harassment investigation last year involving a personal friend hired by DeWine to work for the AG's office.
DeWine met with the independent investigator who was later assigned the complaint and demanded contact information for a confidential source despite being cautioned by the investigator that his request was likely improper.
The investigator documented DeWine's interference in the investigation, and DeWine later asked a local prosecutor to consider felony charges against the investigator for a procedural violation.
Kathy DiCristofaro, chair of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus, called for an independent investigation of DeWine's involvement.
“Mike DeWine’s explanations for why he interfered in this investigation and demanded a confidential informant’s name don’t add up," DiCristofaro said. "Now, we’ve found that DeWine’s senior staff tried to retaliate against his office’s own investigator. Ohioans deserve a thorough and independent investigation how DeWine and his staff handled these sexual harassment allegations.”
"This case reeks of wrongdoing, and it has Mike DeWine’s fingerprints all over it," Democrats contend in a petition asking for an investigation.
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said earlier this month that DeWine "was the most corrupt elected official" he's ever encountered.
DeWine countered by alleging Democrats were attempting to smear him.