Bolstered by a super PAC funded by $10 million-and-counting from tech billionaire Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley private equity insider JD Vance yesterday launched his bid for the crowded and messy GOP Ohio Senate primary — ensuring the “already chaotic” primary only becomes more so.
In his announcement speech, Vance attacked “big tech” and “elites [that] plunder this country.” But how’s this for dishonest opportunism: As revealed in a new report from The Daily Beast, Vance isn’t just bankrolled by Big Tech billionaires, he’s also hired a campaign staffer who’s “linked to the biggest bribery scandal in the history of Ohio” and has a second staffer tied to the scandal working at his Thiel-Funded super PAC.
In other words, while Vance desperately tries to run as an “outsider” and “self-styled working class hero,” the truth is that he is “uniquely vulnerable” to his own criticism of “the elites in this country [who] are robbing us blind.”
By: Roger Sollenberger | July 1, 2021
- “Vance is perhaps uniquely vulnerable on this exact point. His resume boasts stints at investment firms run by founding members of Facebook and America Online, and his candidacy has been boosted by millions in corporate dollars.”
- “And, if corruption is a concern, one of his own campaign’s first senior hires appears to have had a front row seat to the swampiest bribery scandal in the history of Ohio.”
- “According to Cleveland.com, Vance has tapped Bryan Gray as his political director. Gray served as deputy chief of staff to former Republican Ohio House speaker Larry Householder, who was indicted last July as the ringleader of that $60 million bribery scheme. Householder stands accused of using a super PAC to funnel tens of millions of dollars from a private utility company to his political allies in return for a $1.5 billion legislative bailout for nuclear plants owned by the utility.”
- “That legislator also named another Vance connection at the meeting: Megan Fitzmartin, who according to a fundraising email now serves as political director of Protect Ohio Values, a super PAC backing Vance. At the time, Fitzmartin reportedly worked for one of the lobbyists also indicted in the scandal.”
- “That super PAC has already drawn high-dollar gifts from megadonors. Peter Thiel, a Facebook board member who co-founded PayPal and data firm Palantir, which law enforcement agencies have tapped in surveillance efforts, gave the PAC $10 million in March. Thiel hired Vance out of law school at his investment firm Mithra Capital and later contributed seed money for Vance’s own Ohio-based venture capital firm.”
Read the full report here.