News report: Congressman Turner spent over $70K in campaign money on meals since 2017

    Rep. Michael Turner, R-Ohio, at House Intelligence Committee hearing
    WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 21: Representative Michael Turner, a Republican from Ohio, questions witnesses during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing on Capitol Hill November 21, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fifth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)

    Ohio’s 10th Congressional District U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, reportedly spent over $70,000 in campaign funds at restaurants to fund meals at around 370 meetings since 2017, according to a report out Wednesday morning from Politico.

    From Politico:

    The individual receipts are fairly modest in most cases — typically ranging from $12 to a few hundred dollars. But together, ethics watchdogs say, they suggest a consistent pattern: Turner uses his donors to subsidize his personal dining costs, expensing an average of two meals a week. …

    In a statement, Turner denied any impropriety and called the story “a political hit job initiated by my opponent.”

    “All of Mike Turner or his team’s expenses in the 18 years he has served in Congress have always been legally and publicly disclosed and reported,” campaign manager Mason Di Palma said. “Our campaign organization spending is consistent with supporting our community and raising money for reelection, routinely spending substantially less than other senior members of Congress.”

    Politico quoted Noah Bookbinder, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonpartisan watchdog organization, saying, “You could come up with a reasonable explanation for one… But in the aggregate, it looks suspicious.”

    Turner has been a member of Congress since 2003. His district, previously numbered as the 3rd District, is based in Dayton and consists of Montgomery, Greene and Fayette counties.

    In April, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added Ohio’s 10th District to its list of target races. Turner faces a challenge from Democrat Desiree Tims of Dayton.

    Last week, Turner accused Tims of improperly using campaign funds by taking a salary from her campaign. Tims said the salary was legal and called Turner’s accusation “dirty political attacks.”