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Monday, March 12, 2012

Dem David Krikorian Seeks FBI, Justice Dept. Probe of Election Eve Robocalls: Oh-02 Candidate Suspects Illegal Super Pac

Political Scandal Brewing Over Super Pac?
BREAKING NEWS -- The Hamilton County Democratic Party has now joined the call for a federal investigation:  "Without real and meaningful transparency, shadowy groups from almost anywhere could influence our  elections and we might never know it happened.  This should be regarded as an intolerable situation. " (You can read the complete text of the Democrats' statement about apparent tampering in the primary by scanning down the page.)

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- With suspicion mounting about  illegal activity by political dirty tricksters, efforts are now being made for a Justice Department probe into unusual events that could have swayed a SW Ohio primary election for Congress. David Krikorian is asking U.S. Attorney Carter Stewart to lauch a federal investigation into a flood of mysterious robocalls that urged SW Ohio voters to support an unknown candidate.  Krikorian told federal prosecutors (see letter below) he has information about "a clear violation of the law." The robocalls were anti-Krikorian -- he is a Cincinnati area resident who had the endorsement of Dems in Hamilton County. Krikorian was targeted by a group calling itself the "Victory Ohio SuperPac." But no such organization seems to exist. The calls on March 3 and March 5 blanketed the district and originated from a downtown Cleveland phone number, which has since been disconnected.  The wireless Verizon account -- if traced by authorities -- may reveal who was behind the robocalls.

Krikorian trails William R. Smith, a truck driver from rural Pike County, by 59 votes. Smith, 61, did not campaign, did not spend any money, and did not do anything other than file petitions to seek the nomination. There is a growing sense that Smith's candidacy -- he appears to have been an unwitting beneficiary -- was boosted by a dirty trick fueled by the mysterious Super Pac. Democratic Party officials plan to join Krikorian's call for a federal investigation, and are likely to schedule a press conference Tuesday announcing their decision.

Oh-02 is the congressional district east of Cincinnati. It has been represented by Republican Jean Schmidt, who lost in the March 6 primary to Brad Wenstrup, a physician and Iraq War veteran. Wentrup's win on the GOP side is considered an upset. But it was considered a fair contest. On the other hand, Smith's victory is seen as a fluke propelled by robocalls that seemed to come out of nowhere from a SuperPac that cannot be traced.

The Daily Bellwether has a copy of the letter Krikorian has drafted for Stewart, the chief federal prosecutor in Southern Ohioidate in last week's Democratic primary. Krikorian wrote:

March 12, 2012

Mr. Carter M. Stewart

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Cincinnati, OH 45215

Dear Mr. Stewart:

My name is David Krikorian and I am a candidate for the United States House of

Representatives in the Second Congressional District of Ohio, FEC candidate ID

#H8OH02090. I have firsthand knowledge and evidence that a likely violation of federal
statute occurred between March 3, 2012 and March 6, 2012 that had an adverse impact
on my campaign.
The activities in question were untaken by a group identifying itself as the “Victory Ohio
Super PAC”. 2 U.S.C. § 433(a) establishes a registration threshold for non-authorized
committees, as of March 12, 2012 no committee has registered with the Federal Election
Commission with the name: “Victory Ohio Super PAC”. Failure to properly register is
also a likely violation of Title 26 of the Internal Revenue Service Code § 6652. Failure to
file certain information returns, registration statements etc..
Additionally 2 U.S.C. § 434(a)(1) and (4) and (b) establishes reporting requirements and
expenditure notices for non-authorized committees regarding independent expenditures
that impact a federal election, as of March 12, 2012 no committee identifying itself as
the: “Victory Ohio Super PAC” has made any expenditure disclosures to the Federal
Elections Commission.
describes the facts of this case and includes the opinions of campaign-finance experts that
believe a likely violation of federal statute has occurred. The actions in question were a
series of automated phone calls, as USA TODAY reports:
“One version of the robocall took aim at Krikorian: "William Smith has an opponent
that describes himself as a Reagan conservative. … Please don't make a mistake
and embarrass the party. Vote for William Smith, the real Democrat for Congress."
March 12, 2012
Page 2
The recorded call ended with the disclosure, "This has been paid for by the Victory
Ohio Super PAC." Neither the FEC nor Ohio's Secretary of State have any record
of such a group. A call recipient's caller ID system generated a non-working phone
number from the Cleveland suburbs.”
Click here to listen to the robocall from the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website:
I would like to request a meeting with representatives from your office to formally
request an investigation into the above matter. I can provide additional evidence and
further details of the case as said meeting. My goal is to identify the people or entities
that are responsible for the Victory Ohio Super PAC and hold them accountable for what
appears to be a clear violation of the law.
David Krikorian
Candidate for the United States House of Representatives
Mr. Robert Warfel
Federal Bureau of Investigation
2012 Ronald Reagan Drive
Cincinnati, OH 45236
Ms. Anne L. Porter
U.S. Attorney’s Office
221 E. Fourth Street, Suite 400
Cincinnati, OH 45202

UPDATE: 3/13/2012, 9:11 a.m. -- Geoffrey Sea, a Southern Ohio resident near Waverly, has written an in-depth blogpost that suggests backers of a stalled nuclear fuel project outside Piketon were behind the robocalls. Sea said an ardent supporter of the plan, a former local Chamber of Commerce official and current county commissioner, recruited Smith to run.  Here's a tidbit from his report in a new blog called The SONG Sheet  (for Southern Ohio Neighbors Group):  "Cleveland, Mr. Beekman, and Ms. Schmidt, all have a definite connection. A Cleveland "entrepreneur," who is also a former USEC board member and former maverick candidate for mayor of Cleveland, has founded a company called "the Piketon Initiative for Nuclear Independence." It was this company, ePIFNI as they call it, that submitted the formal proposal for spent nuclear fuel storage at Piketon in 2006, a proposal endorsed by Congresswoman Schmidt and Chamber of Commerce Director Blaine Beekman. ePIFNI continues to submit bids for contract work at the Piketon site."

UPDATE 2: 3/13/2012, 1:48 p.m. -- Here is the complete text of the Hamilton County' Democratic Party's statement seeking a federal investigation into the robocalls:

"Tonight, David Krikorian, Democratic candidate for Congress in Ohio’s 2cd Congressional District has submitted a formal request (see attachment) to the US District Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio that an investigation be undertaken regarding certain events that appear to have taken place in the run-up to last week’s Ohio Primary Election.

Specifically, a series of robo-calls were placed to voters by an entity that identified itself as
Victory Ohio Super PAC.  Victory Ohio Super PAC appears not to be an entity that is
registered with either the Federal Election Commission or the office of the Ohio Secretary
of State.  Consequently it appears that Election Law violations may have taken place.  
The Hamilton County Democratic Party fully supports Mr. Krikorian’s call for a formal
investigation.   It is fundamental that voters have a right to know who is attempting to
influence their decision on Election Day.   We note that Hamilton County Republican Chair
Alex Triantafilou also has suggested an investigation of this matter is warranted.

Transparency in elections is of the utmost importance.  Voters should know who is
attempting to influence the outcome.  In the post Citizen’s United era of growing Super
PAC spending, this question is becoming murkier by the day.  What appears to have taken
place in South West Ohio only adds to the growing concern over this issue.   Without real
and meaningful transparency, shadowy groups from almost anywhere could influence our
elections and we might never know it happened.  This should be regarded as an intolerable

It is imperative that an investigation be undertaken to determine exactly what happened in
this election."


  1. Cincinnati Liberal LawyerMarch 13, 2012 9:01 AM

    Schmidt office is preparing press release that declares "I am not a crook."

    But I am wondering if we have heard that somewhere before. This whole episode, as the cartoon notes, is faintly Watergate-ish.

  2. It would be nice to see both Schmidt and Krikorian ride off into the sunset. The district deserves much better leadership than either Schmidt or Krikorian has to offer. Wasn't Krikorian accused of some underhanded tactics previously?

    1. Brad Wenstrup is in the catbird seat. He's Mr. Clean in this mess. Schmidt is out of the way and he's going to win the seat. Very conservative but very honorable man. This Demo stuff is a sideshow. Won't change eventual outcome in Ohio's 2nd Congressional District.

      Wenstrup as a war veteran can campaign with Josh Mandel, another war vet. Wenstrup's gloss will help Mandel against Sherrod Brown in Southern Ohio. Stay tuned for Wenstrup/Mandel vs. the liberal senator from Cleveland.

  3. This Schmidt schmoozing with the Turks (she had lunch with the ambassador election day) is soooo old. Why is she a fan of the Turks?

    Krikorian is an Armenian and probably was motivated by his inbred national animosity towards anything Turkish.

    Why all this baggage in a Cincinnati congressional district? We don't need this crap.

    Who in the hell is William R. Smith? Why did somebody bother to advertise him when he didn't bother to advertise himself?

    Are Turks and Armenians slaughtering our electoral process to settle their old grudges. This stuff is stupid and sickening.

  4. Somebody should get to the bottom of this incident. Super Pacs could be taking over our elections. Look at what Romney is doing to his opponents with Super Pac help.

  5. I notice the local Democratic organization in Cincinnati mentioned the Republican chairman in Cincinnati said publicly he supports this investigation. Is Chairman Triantafilou going to write a letter to the Justice Department or is he worried an investigation would turn over rocks he would rather keep in place? Why do I have the feeling this will lead back to Jewan Schmidt's operation?

    1. Is Burke going to write a letter?

    2. I think the press release is all Burke is doing. He should write. But he probably won't do anything other than talk. What do they say? Talk is cheap, action speaks louder than words.

  6. It's a shame that the Turkish lobby has so much influence on our politicians. Now it looks like they can influence our elections too, and target Americans of Armenian descent just to keep them out of office.