Rep. Mike Turner has spent nearly $200,000 on unexplained legal bills
Since he was first elected in 2002, Rep. Mike Turner has spent $192,296.55 on legal expenses from his campaign account. The majority of these payments came in 2005 and 2006, years in which the state and national Republican parties were plagued by scandals and investigations (such as Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney).
During 2006, Turner was actively paying two top law firms from his campaign. Both specialize in litigation and defense. In that year, he paid more than $31,000 to Wiley Rein & Fielding LLP, a Washington, DC based firm with GOP ties that is well known for its work in white-collar criminal defense. The firm represented David Safavian, who was convicted in the Abramoff/Ney scandal. Between 2005 and 2006 Turner also paid Freund, Freeze & Arnold, a Dayton, Ohio litigation firm, nearly $135,000.
Particularly strange is a single payment to Freund, Freeze & Arnold of $115,200.89 in November 2006. It was the largest legal payment of any member of Congress during that time period. When previously asked about this payment, Turner has claimed it was for self-research; however, the firm specializes in litigation and criminal defense, not political research. While some legal expenses are not uncommon for a campaign, these large bills would seem to imply a more serious problem.
The campaign of Sharen Neuhardt, Democratic candidate for Ohio’s newly created 10th Congressional District, demanded Turner come clean about these legal bills.
“Voters in the Miami Valley deserve to know why Mike Turner is paying so much money to defense lawyers,” said Neuhardt campaign spokesman Michael McGovern. “Spending this much campaign money on lawyers raises serious red flags. Why did he need the representation of two defense law firms at the same time? What’s Mike Turner trying to hide?”