GOP Senate candidate using strip club owner’s plane to campaign: report

GOP Senate candidate using strip club owner’s plane to campaign: report
© Greg Nash

The Republican congressman running to replace Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump mounts Rust Belt defense Warren, Klobuchar call on FTC to curtail use of non-compete clauses The Hill's Morning Report - Trump, Dems put manufacturing sector in 2020 spotlight MORE (D) has reportedly been traveling to various campaign around Ohio in a private plane owned by a strip club owner.

Rep. Jim RenacciJames (Jim) B. RenacciGOP rep: If Mueller had found collusion, ‘investigation would have wrapped up very quickly’ House Ethics Committee extends probe into Renacci Sherrod Brown says he has 'no real timetable' for deciding on 2020 presidential run MORE (R-Ohio) wrote in Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings that his campaign has spent as much as $2,500 on private travel expenses since January with Don Ksiezyk, a private pilot and owner of the Peek-A-Boos and the Bug-A-Boos strip clubs in Cleveland, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

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Representatives for Renacci's campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill, and refused to answer questions from the Dispatch on whether Renacci and Ksiezyk had ever engaged in previous business relationships.

A review of flight records by the newspaper shows that Renacci used the plane to attend at least three campaign events across Ohio, including day trips to various areas of the state that allowed the congressman to return home afterward.

A spokeswoman for Renacci's campaign attacked the Dispatch, accusing the newspaper of "shaming" Ksiezyk for his businesses and supposedly ignoring decades-old claims of domestic violence that Brown has battled.

"The Dispatch has sadly hit a new low by publicly shaming a private citizen and Renacci campaign volunteer while giving a pass to Senator Sherrod Brown on his record of domestic violence," spokeswoman Leslie Shedd said in a statement.

A candidate's use of a private plane  has been criticized by their opponent in at least one other Senate race during the 2018 election cycle. In Missouri, Republican Josh Hawley accused Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillLobbying world Dem candidate has Hawley served subpoena at CPAC Annual scorecard ranks GOP environmental efforts far below Dems in 2018 MORE (D-Mo.) of having "lost touch with reality" after the Washington Free Beacon reported her own use of a private plane for campaign stops.

Renacci currently trails Brown by double-digits in the state's U.S. Senate race, according to a poll released this week.