Campaign 2010

Oct 01, 2010

Serious Legal Issues Plague Young Guns

House Republican Leadership have recruited, endorsed and donated nearly $115,000 to a series of Young Guns candidates with disturbing backgrounds and legal problems. 

Today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that NRCC Young Gun Tom Ganley (OH-13) is being sued by a potential campaign volunteer for attempted rape and sexual assault.  Ganley’s legal troubles come on the heels of recent reports about Brad Zaun (IA-03), Tom Marino (PA-10), Jim Renacci (OH-16), David Rivera (FL-25), Dan Benishek (MI-01), Andy Barr (KY-06), and Scott DesJarlais (TN-04).

Did Republican Leaders know – or just not care – about their Republican recruits’ lies, harassment of women, lawsuits, tax cheating, assault and negligent behavior?  


Tom Ganley (OH-13)

Republicans thought they were handed a gift when well-known multi-millionaire Tom Ganley decided to run for Congress. But Republicans failed to look into how Ganley made millions of dollars by ripping off hardworking people in Ohio.

  • Ganley Sued Over 400 Times for Discrimination, Unethical Business Practices. Ganley has been sued over 400 times, including employees who have filed a series of discrimination claims over sexual, age and racial discrimination. Ganley’s dealerships have also faced lawsuits from customers who were sold a car that was unsafe to drive; lied to about mileage and accident history; told to “live with” body damage; and loaned a stolen car. [Fox News, 9/07/10; Cuyahoga Court of Common Pleas]
  • Ganley Sued for Attempted Rape and Sexual Assault. Just this morning we learned that a woman has filed a suit against Ganley for sexual assault. Ganley allegedly met with the woman, who was interested in volunteering for his U.S. Senate campaign and talking about her car payments, when he propositioned and sexually assaulted her in his private office. [Plain Dealer, 9/30/10]
  • Ganley received $18,500 from GOP Leadership. Ganley has received at least $18,500 in contributions from GOP leadership. [CQ Moneyline]

Brad Zaun (IA-03)

Republicans must have been impressed with former hardware store owner and mayor Brad Zaun – and shocked to hear that he was ordered to stay away from a former girlfriend by police.

  • Zaun Ordered to Stay Away. In 2001, Zaun had to be told by West Des Moines police to stay away from a former girlfriend who had accused him of harassing her. The woman called police to complain that Zaun showed up in the early morning hours and pounded on her windows. “Brad yelled from outside calling her slut and other names,” the police report states. [Des Moines Register, 8/19/10]
  • Zaun received $7,500 from GOP Leadership. Zaun has received at least $7,500 in contributions from GOP leadership. [CQ Moneyline]

Tom Marino (PA-10)

Former U.S. Attorney Tom Marino was a top Republican recruit despite his ties to convicted felon Louis DeNaples – but did his GOP backers know that he was going to use his former position to hide the true details of their relationship?

  • Marino Served as Reference for a Convicted Felon…Tom Marino long held that he had permission from the Department of Justice to serve as a reference for DeNaples’ slot-machine casino application.
  •  …While the Felon Was Under Investigation. Marino’s reference came while the attorney’s office was investigating DeNaples, possibly as part of an investigation into organized crime. [Pocono Record, 10/01/10]
  • Marino Admitted He Never Had Permission. This week Marino admitted that he never had permission to serve as a reference for DeNaples after an FBI source said they had no paperwork to substantiate the allegations. [Scranton Times-Tribune, 9/29/10] 
  • Marino received $6,000 from Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Marino has received $3,500 from Sarah Palin’s committee and $2,500 from Mitt Romney’s committee. [CQ Moneyline]

Jim Renacci (OH-16)

Jim Renacci made millions of dollars as the owner and operator of nursing homes throughout Ohio. Republican officials thought Renacci would be able to tout his experience in health care – but did they know he endangered his nursing home residents to make more money while sheltering his income from taxes?

  • A Renacci Nursing Home Patient Dies. In 2001, a woman died in a nursing home operated by Renacci after another patient with a history of verbal and physical abuse attacked her. The woman died two days later.
  • Renacci Placed Profits Before Safety. In a deposition, the nursing home administrator testified that the center did not have sufficient trained staff to control aggressive patients but that Renacci opposed any attempt to remove those patients because it would adversely affect the income of the center. [Stark County Clerk of Courts, 2001CV00598]
  • Renacci Sheltered $14 Million from Taxes. In 2006, Renacci was assessed nearly $1.4 million in unpaid state taxes, interest and fees after trying to shelter some $14 million in income. For years, Renacci fought the assessment after ignoring warnings from the Tax Commissioner of Ohio that it would impose fraud penalties on taxpayers who did not file amended returns and pay the taxes due. found “mostly true” the statements that Renacci “cheated on his income taxes” and was a “deadbeat.” [Associated Press, 4/13/10;, 8/27/10]
  • Renacci received $34,000 from GOP Leadership. Renacci has received $34,000 from GOP leadership. [CQ Moneyline]

David Rivera (FL-25)

GOP officials highly touted Marco Rubio-roommate and state Representative David Rivera – a state party officer and budget chairman - who has a troubling history of going to great lengths to hide a violent past.

  • Rivera Drove a Truck Off the Road. In August, CBS4’s investigative team reported on a 2002 incident where Rivera allegedly drove a truck off the road that contained mailers produced by his opponent. Rivera’s version of the story, told to CBS4, did not match up with the incident report or the truck driver’s and printing company’s stories. [CBS4, 8/17/10]
  • Rivera Accused of Domestic Violence. Days later, the Miami Herald reported on allegations – and a court record – that Rivera was accused of domestic violence in 1994. The Herald noted “inconsistencies” in Rivera’s responses to the allegations. While Rivera said he never met the woman, others said they saw the two together and the woman’s mother once worked on one of Rivera’s campaigns. The allegations were the subject of the mailers Rivera tried to stop from being mailed to voters. [Miami Herald, 8/19/10]
  • Rivera has $3,200 from GOP Leadership. GOP leadership has contributed $3,200 to Rivera. [CQ Moneyline]

Dan Benishek (MI-01)

The NRCC has promoted heart surgeon Dan Benishek as the perfect candidate to replace retiring Representative Bart Stupak. But did they know that he hid $100,000 in income to lower his child-support payments when he was making more than 10 times her salary?

  • Benishek Underestimated His Income To Lower Child-Support Payments. Court records from Dickinson County show that Benishek underestimated his income by $100,000 during legal arguments over child support with his ex-wife. When Benishek requested lowering his child-support payments by $2,550 per month, he owned four homes and three vehicles and had an estimated income of $250,000 per year. His ex-wife, a registered nurse, was making $23,000 a year.
  • Judge: “Extremely Significant” Discrepancy. In 1995, a circuit court judge determined that Benishek failed to claim $100,000 income from a land management and marketing firm and called the discrepancy “extremely significant.” [Michigan Messenger, 9/27/10]
  • Benishek  received $5,000 from Sessions. [CQ Moneyline]

Andy Barr (KY-06)

Andy Barr was a star NRCC recruit despite his work for disgraced Governor Ernie Fletcher. While his work for Fletcher was known, did the NRCC have any idea that he was convicted of using false identification and public drinking outside a liquor store and then lied about it on an official state job application?

  • Barr Convicted of False ID, Charged with Public Drinking. In 1993, Barr was charged with possession of a fake Mississippi driver’s license. In 1999, he was charged with public drinking in front a liquor store.
  • Barr Lied on State Job Application. Barr declined to explain the circumstances behind these charges and then lied on applications for state jobs, claiming he had never “been convicted of violating any law” other than “minor traffic violations.” [Lexington Herald-Leader, 4/11/10]
  • Documents Mysteriously Disappeared Under Barr. While he was counsel to Fletcher, “critical documents mysteriously disappeared” and he was cited for subverting the state’s open records law. [Roll Call, 7/30/10]
  • Barr has received $17,500 from GOP Leadership. Barr has received at least $17,500 in contributions from GOP leadership. [CQ Moneyline]

Scott DesJarlais (TN-04)

Scott DesJarlais has been touted as a top recruit by the NRCC and one of their top races to watch. Republicans must have not asked DesJarlais about his violent behavior and divorce including him allegedly holding a pistol in his mouth for three hours and dry firing guns outside the room his wife was in.

  • DesJarlais’ Violent, Threatening Behavior. According to Roll Call, “Susan DesJarlais accused her former husband of “dry firing a gun outside the Plaintiff’s locked bedroom door, admission of suicidal ideation, holding a gun in his mouth for three hours, an incident of physical intimidation at the hospital; and previous threatening behavior ... i.e. shoving, tripping, pushing down, etc.”  
  • DesJarlais had Police Called on him after Harassing his Ex-Wife. In another court document from February 2001, Susan DesJarlais asked that her husband’s visitation rights with their child be limited after he allegedly showed up at her apartment complex on Valentine’s Day and began harassing her to the point that she called the police.” [Roll Call, 9/16/10]
  • DesJarlais Repeatedly Tried to Lower Child-Support Payments. DesJarlais repeatedly attempted to have his child support payments reduced during and after his divorce. [Roll Call, 9/16/10]