Complaint against Barborak dismissed

LISBON –A complaint filed against former state representative Nick Barborak during his 2014 re-election bid was dismissed nearly a year ago by the Ohio Elections Commission.

The complaint, over advertisements being run by an independent political action committee supporting his candidacy, was dismissed by agreement of the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee, which is the group that filed the complaint.

The newspaper has checked twice a year since the complaint was filed, including several months ago, but had been told it remained pending. It learned recently, only after being told by Barborak, that the complaint had been dismissed on Feb. 18.

Barborak, a Democrat, lost his re-election bid to Republican Tim Ginter, who continues to serve as Columbiana County’s state representative.

At issue was a 2014 TV ad that portrayed Ginter an extremist because of his ties to a conservative religious/political organization that has taken controversial positions. The ad was run by the Coalition for Ohio’s Future (COF) and carried a disclaimer saying it was not authorized by the candidate or his campaign. The complaint filed by state Republicans alleged otherwise, saying COF and Barborak’s campaign were working together in violation of the election law that prohibits coordination between the two.

The October surprise was dropped six days before the 2014 general election, and Barborak knew at the time the complaint was bogus and was timed to hurt him at the polls, which is why he was not surprised that it was dropped.

“It was a complaint that should have never been filed and they should’ve known that,” he said.

The evidence to bolster the complaint consisted of photographs that appeared in the COF ads but Barborak had used in his 2012 campaign. Barborak said anyone could obtain the photographs once they were posted online without his knowledge or permission, which is apparently what happened.

“These were images that anyone could have gotten online,” he said, adding Ginter’s campaign even used the same images in their ads.

Barborak said the rise of SuperPACs such COF are a direct result of the Citizens United court ruling.  “There was zero coordination between my campaign and the SuperPAC. For whatever the reason they decided to support my candidacy, but I never met  them, never communicated with them and I still don’t even know who they were,” he said.