COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A congressman who failed to disclose nearly $50,000 in political contributions while registered as a Washington lobbyist filed papers clarifying the date the registration was deactivated, his campaign said Friday.
A spokesman for the U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Rep. Jim Renacci said a missing form setting Renacci’s deactivation date as Aug. 1, 2009, was filed Thursday.
The move came a day after The Associated Press reported there were five reporting periods from 2008 to 2010 while Renacci was registered as a lobbyist when he either failed to file the required disclosure form or reported giving no political contributions when he had given.
Renacci’s campaign had said that the disclosures weren’t required because his status was inactive. The AP’s review found a form required to complete the deactivation process begun years earlier had not been filed until May 2011, four months after Renacci entered Congress.
Renacci continued to file disclosures, aside from two missing ones, through mid-2011, as an active lobbyist would. It was unclear how the revision made Thursday related to those later filings.
Campaign spokesman James Slepian emphasized that Renacci was registered as a lobbyist only as a precautionary measure and that he never engaged in any lobbying activities.
Renacci, a businessman and former Wadsworth mayor, is Republicans’ favored candidate to win a primary and take on Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown this fall in one of the year’s most closely watched Senate contests.
Republican Senate rival Mike Gibbons said Friday that he found it “astounding” to learn from the AP report that Renacci had been registered as a lobbyist.
“What I took away from it was that he wasn’t this outsider as he depicts,” Gibbons said. “The fact he was actually a lobbyist kind of changes my whole view of him as a candidate. I kind of looked at him as outside the swamp.”
Slepian reiterated that Renacci never lobbied.
“It’s no shock to see the ideologically flexible, pro-choice Mike Gibbons peddle the same debunked attacks Democrats lobbed at Jim Renacci in 2010 and 2012,” he said. “But two facts remain crystal clear: Jim Renacci never worked a day as a lobbyist, and Mike Gibbons will never work a day as a United States senator.”
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