Rep. Turner wants more investigation of Clinton emails

Sen. Rob Portman has raised $3.8 million in the second quarter of 2016 – and he’s giving nearly $1 million of that to the Ohio Republican Party for their voter outreach efforts, his campaign announced last week.

The rest of that money - $2.9 million will go to the campaign. Portman’s campaign raised $2.4 million during the first quarter of 2016, so even with the money for the Ohio Republican Party, he will surpass last quarter’s haul for his own campaign.

The campaign – which announced in May that it has reserved $15 million in air time for campaign ads – reports that it has more than $13 million in the bank, and according to Portman’s campaign 14,000 individual donors are from Ohio.

Portman, a Republican, is in a tight re-election bid against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland, a Democrat, has not yet released his second quarter numbers, but as of March 31, his campaign had raised a little more than $5 million total and had $2.7 million in the bank.

“The momentum behind Rob continues to grow as our unprecedented grassroots program recently surpassed 2.5 million voter contacts and we continue our record-setting fundraising,” said campaign manager Corry Bliss.

Countered Strickland spokesman David Bergstein: “Rob Portman is the Jeb Bush of senate candidates: he and his allies have already spent over $30 million on false attacks, and they’ve failed to dislodge Ted’s standing in the polls or provide Ohioans any convincing argument to re-elect Senator Portman.”

Turner wants more investigation over Clinton emails

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, reiterated his call for an independent counsel last week after FBI Director James Comey announced that the FBI has concluded its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails:

“I believe it is in the best interest of the country that the independent counsel statute is reauthorized to review the findings of the FBI’s investigation into Secretary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information, and to make an independent and impartial decision about whether to prosecute the former Secretary for potential criminal activity,” he said, calling the FBI investigation “steeped in political bias.”

Portman’s trade history to be an issue

Here’s a reminder you’ll likely hear multiple times from Democrats as billionaire Donald Trump continues his campaign in Ohio: Sen. Rob Portman used to serve as U.S. Trade Representative.

To wit: Even as Trump appeared at a stop in Sharonville Wednesday, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland’s campaign was sending out a reminder that Portman once spoke highly of the Central American Free Trade Agreement trade deal and talked about his role as the quarterback for the trade deal.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, has been critical of trade deals including NAFTA and CAFTA.

“Every time he comes to Ohio, Donald Trump is shining a bright, unflattering spotlight on Senator Portman’s decades long record of championing unfair trade deals that have outsourced hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for Strickland. “Take it from Portman himself: he was the ‘quarterback’ for job killing trade policies that have devastated Ohio’s economy and hurt our working families.”

Yost says he can’t audit crop insurance

One day after being grilled at a congressional hearing on why he had audited the food stamp program as opposed to federal crop insurance, state Auditor David Yost said his office does not have the authority to audit crop insurance.

In a letter sent today to Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland, Yost wrote “crop insurance is not a federal program administered by the state and is not included on the states’ federal schedule to be audited.”

During Yost’s appearance Tuesday before the House agriculture committee, Fudge sharply questioned Yost over an audit he released last month which concluded there was “likely millions of dollars in fraud” in the way Ohio administers its share of the federal food stamp program — which allow millions of low-income Americans to buy food every year.

After she expressed doubt that Yost had actually uncovered substantial fraud in the program, she asked him why he focused on food stamps, known officially as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Democrats are major supporters of the program.

“What about crop insurance?” she demanded. “What has your audit found about that?”

“I don’t know if we ever looked at crop insurance?” Yost replied.

“Ohio is an agriculture state,” she said. “It’s a federal program.”

In his letter to Fudge today, however, Yost wrote he was “taken aback” by her question, writing “ my surprise was for a good reason” because Ohio is not involved in any way in administering crop insurance.

Portman takes back door out of Trump meeting

As he did in an meeting earlier this year, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, left a meeting last week with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and other Republicans just off Capitol Hill through a side entrance without speaking to reporters, according to Roll Call.

Instead, Portman issued a statement said he had a “constructive meeting” with Trump, saying GOP lawmakers and Trump talked “about some of the big issues of the day: the economy and jobs, as well as national security and terrorism. America cannot have another four years of the same, failed policies on jobs and terrorism, and that’s exactly what Hillary Clinton would provide.”

David Bergstein, a spokesman for Senate Democratic candidate Ted Strickland, said “the fact that Portman tried to sneak through an alley to avoid answering questions about an appearance” with Trump “tells Ohioans everything they need to know about both Portman’s political cowardice and how terrified he is of being associated with the most toxic and divisive presidential nominee in modern history.”

In May, Portman and a dozen other GOP senators met Trump just off Capitol Hill. But as he did today, Portman left the meeting without speaking to reporters and instead issued a statement.

“Rob Portman has really been good to me and I appreciate it,” Trump told several thousand Wednesday night at the Sharonville Convention Center near Cincinnati. “Go out and vote for Rob Portman – he’s been terrific.”

Portman has endorsed Trump and has said he would not mind making a joint appearance with the New York billionaire.

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