Ohio attorney Scott A. Pullins runs a blog, the Pullins Report, which has relentlessly pursued Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, the Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate for 2006 in Ohio. Pullins has been fearless in exploring charges that Strickland is a closet homosexual and supports the LGBT agenda.
“We started following Strickland in the primary,” Pullins, who practices law in Vernon, Ohio, near Columbus, told WND. “We especially picked up on the issue after Brian Flannery, his Democratic Party challenger in the primary, began hammering Strickland on sexual issues.”
A Father’s Day newspaper article in the Toledo Blade, published June 19, piqued Pullins interest. The story noted Flannery “criticized Mr. Strickland for vacationing in Italy with a male political ‘prot?g?’ who had been convicted of indecent exposure.”
Flannery, according to the paper, had put out a press release stressing he and his running mate both have children, thereby calling attention to Strickland’s childless marriage.
Jim Tankersley, the Blade’s politics writer, suggested Strickland was defensive that his family was not a traditional one. Strickland countered that children have filled his life, pointing out the children of his best friend, a doctor in Florida, call him “Uncle Ted.”
Pullins said the Blade article caused him to look deeper.
“Ted and Frances had dated for several years, and Ted did not want to get married,” Pullins said. “But finally, when they were both over 40, they decided to get married at a time when Ted was running for office. Typically, politicians marry young, they have two or three children, and they smile for the pictures. I found it strange that Strickland was a driven politician, but he waited until he was 46 before getting married, and they never had children.”
Pullins commented on the Blade article in a June 19 post on his blog titled “Article Adds Fire to Strickland Gay Rumors” in which he said the story “adds fuel to the fire” of Strickland’s votes in Congress that suggest “he is soft on those that sexually assault our children.”
“The stories imply that the Stricklands are both gay and lead separate lives, Frances in Kentucky and Ted in Ohio and D.C.”
‘Are you gay or not?’
An Ohio television commentator, hosting a political issues program, brought up Pullins blog reports and apologetically posed the “gay question” to Strickland.
“I just put it out there once and for all and shut everybody up about this … are you gay or not?”
The congressman did not give a direct answer, however.
“Let me tell you this, John, I’ve been married almost 20 years, I am deeply in love with my wife, and I believe that she is deeply in love with me,” Strickland said. “I have been faithful to my wife and I deeply believe she has been faithful to me.”
[A video clip of Strickland's answer is available online.]
Strickland continued: “These blogs are really mean-spirited, smear efforts. This fellow that you mentioned, I won’t use his name, but he continually puts out information that is absolutely wrong and false.”
Strickland gave an example of an allegedly false report by Pullins, but it had nothing to do with any issue related to homosexuality.
Pullins insisted he doesn’t “give a hoot about how the Stricklands live their private lives.”
“But what I do find interesting,” he said, “is the whisper campaign that has been going on behind the scenes for months and the efforts by liberals and some conservatives to shut down any discussion of the issue.”
Ohio newspapers and bloggers created a firestorm over the story. According to Pullins, the Stricklands do not own a home in Washington, D.C., or in their Ohio congressional district. They rent an apartment in the nation’s capital and own a small condo in Columbus, Ohio. Frances Smith is Frances Strickland’s maiden name, which she uses for her published works, including a children’s book titled “The Little Girl Who Grew Up to be Governor: Stories from the Life of Martha Layne Collins.” Collins was governor of Kentucky from 1983 to 1987.
Pullins also has noted that Frances Strickland is listed on public records as the president and director of a consulting corporation named “Smith Educational Enterprises,” a Kentucky corporation.
Smith is listed on public documents with the Kentucky secretary of state as the registered agent for the company. But there is a problem here for the Stricklands – to be a registered agent for a corporation or other business entity in Kentucky, you must be an individual resident of Kentucky or be a business entity that is located in the state. Smith Educational Enterprises is not registered to do business in Ohio.
In a video posted on YouTube.com, Frances Strickland sings a folksy version of her husband’s biography, emphasizing his humble roots, all to the tune of “Davy Crockett.”
For pursuing this story, Pullins has been soundly attacked by Ohio’s liberal bloggers. A blogger self-identified as “Pho” from Akron described Pullins as an “arch-conservative blogger and all-around douchebag,” but he finally reconsidered, admitting “I don’t really know that Pullins is a douchebag.” MLM Liberal, another Ohio blog, accused Pullins of “Swift Boating” Strickland and his wife.
Conservative Ohio bloggers generally have been supportive of Pullins. BizzyBlog, for example, ran a detailed analysis of Ted Strickland’s 1999 “Present” vote on House Concurrent Resolution 107, an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote that condemned the American Psychological Association for publishing an article that argued sex between adults and minor children could be beneficial to the child.
Pullins told WND that while “the rumors in Ohio have swirled for a number of years that Strickland is gay,” to date “nothing has been proven conclusively.”
“Personally, I don’t really care if Strickland is gay,” Pullins said. “But I don’t want to see him as governor of Ohio in the same situation McGreevey faced in New Jersey.”
James McGreevey resigned in August 2004, admitting he had been living a secret homosexual lifestyle. His resignation was prompted by a sexual harassment suit filed against him by a former security aide Golan Cipel.”
In reference to Strickland’s 1999 vote on HCR 107, Pullins insisted that the “Foley problems” needed to be explored:
“There are legitimate issues here. Is Strickland as governor going to surround himself with those individuals who prey on children? Is he going to surround his administration with those type of people? The voters in Ohio deserve answers to these questions.”
Pullins also says there are unanswered questions about the staff member with whom Strickland traveled to Europe.
“We don’t even know who this guy was, even though Strickland admits taking him on a private vacation to Italy,” the attorney said. “The records are sealed, and we don’t have any idea who this guy is. His name, address and photograph should be up on a website warning people about this predator. Why does Strickland continue to hide the man’s identity?”