The Ohio Democratic Party purchased the web domain address of the now defunct nonprofit founded by JD Vance to fight the opioid epidemic and turned it into a parody account criticizing the Republican presidential candidate. Senate.
OurOhioRenewal.com now directs people to OurOhioRipoff.com, which highlights the shortcomings of Vance and the former nonprofit.
“With a few quick keystrokes, Ohioans can now learn the truth about JD Vance and his bogus organization,” Michael Beyer, a spokesman for the ODP, said. “Instead of taking meaningful action to address the opioid epidemic, Vance recruited a Purdue Pharma puppet who echoed their lies and deflected blame for the damage they caused.”
Beyer added: “If it wasn’t already clear, this is just one more way for Vance to continue proving himself to be an impostor who won’t hesitate to sell out the people of Ohio in order to pursue his own. ambition.”
In a July 27 interview with the Scioto Valley Guardian, Vance said of the organization: “I think we did some good. We’ve provided treatment to people who otherwise wouldn’t have it, but also, you know, running a nonprofit is a lot of work. And the guy that we actually hired to make it work, unfortunately, had stage four cancer. He’s fine now.
He added: “It’s something we tried. I’m proud that we tried it, but it wasn’t very successful in the end.
Vance faces U.S. Representative Tim Ryan of Howland, the Democratic nominee, in the November 8 general election for an open seat. Most polls show the race as a statistical tie.
Asked to comment on the ODP buying the domain name, Luke Schroeder, a spokesperson for the Vance campaign, blamed Ryan, saying the Democrat “will do everything he can to distract from his failed record as a career politician.” Ryan and his campaign had nothing to do with buying the domain.
Ryan ran television ads criticizing Vance’s nonprofit, saying it was being used to advance the Republican candidate’s political career.
The Associated Press recently reported on the closure of Vance’s nonprofit “The most notable achievement – the sending of an addiction specialist to the Appalachian region of Ohio for a year-long residency – was marred by ties between the doctor, the institute that employed him and Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin.”
The report adds: “The mothballing of Our Ohio Renewal and its lack of tangible success raises questions about Vance’s management of the organization. His decision to call on Dr. Sally Santel is under particular scrutiny.
The report said Santel questioned the role of prescription painkillers in the opioid epidemic and sometimes cited Purdue-funded studies and doctors in articles she wrote.
Santel is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, which received about $800,000 from Purdue, according to a 2019 ProPublica article. Santel told the AP that she never consulted or took any money from Purdue and was unaware of the contributions to AEI.
Vance has said in the past that his organization fell short of its goals. Vance rose to fame writing “Hillbilly Elegy”, a book that included his mother’s addiction to OxyContin and heroin and the impact of these drugs on the people of Appalachia.
Vance’s old website touted Our Ohio Renewal as “dedicated to promoting ideas and solving problems identified in” the book.
“Despite Ohio’s recent economic progress, it is clearly divided along racial, economic and cultural lines,” he said. “Our Ohio Renewal will lead the discussion to find real solutions to seemingly intractable problems. It will pursue government policies and private partnerships that make it easier for underprivileged children to achieve their dreams.
During his campaign stops in the Mahoning Valley, including a Friday rally in Liberty, Vance spoke about the impact of substance abuse.
At Ryan’s recent congressional district event, Vance slammed his opponent for being soft on securing the southern border, saying Ryan and President Joe Biden had turned it around “in the drug trafficking capital of the world.”
The ODP’s Vance website also cites a Business Insider article which states that the nonprofit, which was established in 2017, has spent no money on programs to address the opioid epidemic and that 96.4% of its funding went to salaries and staff overhead in its first year.
The report also says Jai Chabria, who was the organization’s top official and is now Vance’s senior campaign adviser, earned more in management fees than Our Ohio Renewal spent on programming.