Busted! Romney Consultant Lies About Rude Email to Ohio AG DeWine

The Columbus Dispatch has confirmed the existence of an email sent from GOP consultant and Mitt Romney consultant Brett Buerck criticizing Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The email was meant for Ohio GOP chairman and Buerck ally Kevin DeWine, but Buerck inadvertently sent the email to Mike DeWine (Kevin and Mike are cousins and also bitter rivals).

From the Columbus Dispatch:

A former Ohio Republican official described Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in an e-mail last October to the Mitt Romney campaign as “very high maintenance” and “who still thinks he’s in the Senate,” adding he did not believe it was “worth our time” to have Romney call DeWine.

The e-mail, obtained by The Dispatch, was written by Brett T. Buerck, a onetime chief of staff to former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder. Buerck has served as a consultant to the Romney campaign.

The e-mail was written after DeWine, who served two terms in the U.S. Senate, had endorsed Romney for the Republican presidential nomination. DeWine last month dropped his endorsement of Romney in favor of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. The e-mail was inadvertently sent to DeWine. He was unavailable for comment.

In the e-mail, Buerck wrote that DeWine wanted to arrange a telephone call with Romney as part of an effort on the attorney general’s part to “develop a relationship”

“I honestly don’t think it’s worth our time, but defer to you all,” Buerck wrote.

Buerck, who is president of Majority Strategies, a direct mail political firm in Florida, said today that he “was proud to help Mike DeWine get elected as attorney general and now I’m proud to be working to help elect Mitt Romney President.”

“Everyone who’s ever sent or received an email knows that the context and tone can easily be misconstrued,” Buerck said. “That’s what happened here and I apologized privately to the attorney general immediately for a hastily crafted message.  I do so again today publicly.”

Red Alert Politics had heard rumors for weeks that such an email existed from six top GOP operatives in Ohio, including one who had seen the email, and that the Columbus Dispatch had a copy of it. However, none of the operatives could produce a copy of the email, which they said DeWine’s staff was keeping close to their chests because they did not want the unflattering email widely circulated.

The operatives all said the rude email was a key factor in Mike DeWine’s unendorsement of Mitt Romney and subsequent endorsement of Rick Santorum ahead of last week’s Ohio presidential primary.

The Dispatch’s article was the first on the record mention of the email to date.

Buerck is well known in Ohio politics for several political scandals that made headlines, including an FBI and IRS investigation that resulted in charges of political racketeering. To be fair, Buerck was never convicted of the charges, but the incident and the behavior leading up to it still leave a bad taste in certain Ohioans mouths, including one GOP legislator who called Buerck and his allies “the Taliban” in an August 23, 2002 Columbus Dispatch article.

Story over. Right? Not so fast.

What’s particularly interesting about Buerck’s admission to The Dispatch today is that is that he told this reporter 11 days ago that such an email did not exist.

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” Buerck said on a phone call.  “I can’t respond to something that is not true.”

Buerck and I had been playing phone tag for about a week to discuss an article I planned to write on Mitt Romney’s troubles in Ohio. In particular, how infighting between Ohio Governor John Kasich’s camp and Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine’s camp was spilling into Romney’s campaign in the state, hurting his chances of winning the presidential primary there.

Indeed, Romney barely won the state with 38 percent of the vote to Rick Santorum’s 37 percent, despite having the endorsement of Ohio heavy weights Sen. Rob Portman and former Governor and Sen. George Voinovich.

By the time Buerck and I caught up, I had already published the article, which he had not yet read. Buerck told me most of the conversation was off-the record, so I am limited with what I can say here. But the gist was that my information was incorrect and I had been “ginned up to write a quick story,” and that wherever I went to journalism school they must not have taught me ethics.

Buerck said I’d been told a “fascinating tale” that just wasn’t true.

“I don’t understand where the hostility is coming from other than other people thinking they’re not making as much money as they deserve,” he said during one of the parts that was on the record.

“As an aside,” he said, “If I have done such a big bad job for Republican candidates, then why do I have, why does my business have more Republican candidates in Ohio than any other mail firm in the country?”

That’s a great question. One I’m still trying to figure out.

Comments

Comments

  1. [...] to this release by the Dispatch, Buerck was asked about rumors of such an email by Francesca Chambers of the Washington Examiner, and he denied that any such email [...]

Polititainment

Celebs gin up youth votes for midterms
THE HILL – With young voters more apathetic about voting and government than ever, several organizations are trying to woo the “selfie generation” to the polls this fall. “About half of those who vote in presidential elections do not vote in midterms,” explained Andy Bernstein, executive director of HeadCount, a non-partisan organization that partners with musicians […]
Maher to Cheney: light yourself on fire

As Hunter S. Thompson despised Richard Nixon with every drug-influenced fiber of his being, so Bill Maher carries on the torch for media provocateurs.

Colbert announces plan to defeat ISIS
President Barack Obama might not have a strategy for defeating ISIS in Syria, but never fear,  comedian Stephen Colbert has him covered. Colbert announced a unique plan Thursday night that involves raising Ronald Reagan from the grave, a captive radio audience and Monty Python-esque horse sound effects. “Remember in 1938 the radio broadcast of ‘War […]
Brand: ISIS better than conservatives
Actor Russell Brand took to Youtube Wednesday to compare terrorist group ISIS to conservatives, eventually coming to the conclusion that conservatives in power were worse than ISIS. Brand was recording yet another video aimed at attacking Fox News when he made the statements about ISIS. He was responding to Fox host Greg Gutfeld’s comments about Brand’s […]
Biden congratulates 'Veep' on Emmy win
From one Vice President to another… Vice President Joe Biden took to Twitter Tuesday to congratulate actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus on her Emmy win. Louis-Dreyfus snagged her third consecutive Outstanding Actress in a Comedy series win Monday for her portrayal of a fictional vice president on HBO’s “Veep.” Last year, the VP picked up the phone […]

White House

Obama: The world seems really messy because of ‘social media’

President Barack Obama, speaking at yet another fundraiser with a script that's been recycled more than a Hollywood romantic comedy, had an unlikely culprit for the world's problems.

White House scrambles to control the fallout from Obama’s ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ comment
It’s hard to imagine that there was any other reaction than full panic from White House staffers after President Obama uttered a fateful gaffe Thursday afternoon, “We don’t have a strategy yet.” The line quickly exploded on Twitter and on television — though not quite as much as the president’s tan suit — as it […]
GOP: ‘He’s not a king’
THE HILL – Whether lamenting the so-called vacationer-in-chief’s swing of a golf club or criticizing his handling of the healthcare rollout, Republicans are getting in the habit of comparing President Obama to a monarch. “It’s one thing after another. You know he says he has no choice but to act. He says he has a pen […]
Obama’s Democratic fundraising just might ruin Labor Day weekend for the rest of us

Barely having returned from a 15-day vacation on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, Obama will spend is Labor Day weekend traveling to support his Democratic friends. The problem is, this means that Americans planning to take seaplanes to East Hampton, Montauk, Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket won't be able to travel themselves.

White House flirt Joe Biden turns on the charm for 108-year-old veteran Lucy Coffey

Joe Biden continues to brand himself the White House flirt. In a recently released video of Biden's July 25 meeting with Lucy Coffee, the vice president kisses the 108-year-old war veteran on the cheek and hand and tells her, "I'm the guy that loves you."

Congress

Cruz highlights issues for 2014, 2016 elections
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) elicited huge cheers from the audience at the Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending the American Dream Summit” Saturday when he vowed Republicans would take back control of the U.S. Senate and “retire” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “I’m convinced we’re going to win in 2014 and 2016 is going to be even better,” […]
IRS says Lerner's Blackberry 'destroyed'

A senior IRS lawyer has said in a sworn declaration that Lois Lerner's BlackBerry was intentionally destroyed after Congress had begun to investigate her involvement in IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Youth impact reason enough to pass jobs bills
The U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means is in the midst of releasing 40 reasons over the course of 40 days that the Senate should take up the 40 jobs bills the House has already passed. While most of their reasons have focused on general unemployment and economic growth statistics, they turned their attention […]
UNEARTHED: Archival footage of Harry Reid smiling

From appearances, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid derives little pleasure from his job, perhaps a deputy to the paragon of joylessness. But Red Alert Politics has dug into the archives to demonstrate that it wasn't always like this.

Rubio: Obama action would kill immigration reform
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is urging President Barack Obama to forego taking executive action on immigration, warning that would kill any chance for comprehensive immigration reform. “If indeed you move forward on such a decision, I believe it will close the door to any chance of making progress on immigration reform for the foreseeable future,” […]