Pro-Trump group doing opposition research on Sherrod Brown’s wife: report

Pro-Trump group doing opposition research on Sherrod Brown’s wife: report
© Greg Nash

A conservative group has conducted opposition research into Connie Schultz, the journalist and wife of a potential 2020 presidential candidate, Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownCentrist efforts to convince Trump to end shutdown falter The Hill's Morning Report — Trump’s attorney general pick passes first test Brown launches tour in four early nominating states amid 2020 consideration MORE (D-Ohio).

Buzzfeed News reported that an operative for the group America Rising filed a public records request with Kent State University in November that sought records related to Schultz, who teaches journalism at the university. 

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The request was filed days after Brown was elected to another term in the Senate, a victory that fueled new talk of a presidential run that the Ohio Democrat has done nothing to swat away. The university responded 20 days later with 37 pages of documents, according to Buzzfeed.

Samantha Cotten, a spokeswoman for America Rising, told Buzzfeed that the group will be using its "full opposition research, tracking, and communications system" against the entire Democratic field in 2020.

"America Rising uses [Freedom of Information Act requests] as a tool to ensure all publicly available information about a candidate is made known to voters,” Cotten said. “We are employing our full opposition research, tracking, and communications system to the entire 2020 Democratic field to hold them accountable.”

Justin Barasky, an adviser to Brown, in a statement to The Hill called the opposition research "no surprise."

"It's no surprise that Republicans are working overtime to prepare for the potential candidates that they’re most worried about," Barasky said.

Schultz worked for several years as a journalist at The Cleveland Plain Dealer, winning the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 2005.

Brown has not officially declared whether he will seek the presidency in 2020 but has said he is "seriously thinking about" making a bid.