ICYMI: PolitiFact Confirms “Vance Paid His ‘Top Political Adviser’ and Funded ‘Political Polling'” Through Non-Profit That Vance Admits “Wasn’t…Very Successful”

In case you missed it, PolitiFact ruled that it was “Mostly True” that JD Vance’s sham opioid non-profit, which an independent expert called “a charade,” used money from the organization to pay Vance’s top political adviser and fund political polling.

This confirmation comes as Vance admitted in a recent interview with the Scioto Valley Guardian that his non-profit “wasn’t ultimately very successful.” 

When asked about the organization’s polling, which was done during the same time period Vance was considering a political run and, according to The Atlantic, “had commissioned a poll” to gauge Ohioans’ interest in a potential candidacy, Vance confessed that “the organization did some things to try to understand what’s going on with public opinion​​.” Vance continued to claim he was unaware of the poll paid for by his organization, saying “I’m not opposed to releasing a poll. But this is sort of a weird thing that Tim Ryan’s talked about that I’m not even sure what he’s talking about.”

Given opportunities by InsiderFox News, and PolitiFact to release the Our Ohio Renewal polling and decisively settle the matter of whether or not the non-profit paid for political research, the Vance campaign has repeatedly declined to do so — prompting PolitiFact to confirm that assertions about about how the funds were used were “largely on target.”

Read highlights fromPolitiFact:

  • In 2017, the year the nonprofit was most active, it spent nearly half of the money it took in to pay its executive director, who was — and remains — a Vance political adviser, and to pay for a survey. 
     
  • The survey was done while Vance was considering a run for the U.S. Senate, though it’s not clear the survey was undertaken for Vance’s political benefit.
     
  • In December 2016, Vance said he would be moving back to Ohio from California to start a nonprofit that would work on a few issues, including opioid addiction. He was more specific in a March 2017 column in The New York Times, writing that the organization would “combat Ohio’s opioid epidemic.” 
     
  • Also in 2016 and 2017, Vance was considering a run in the 2018 election for the Ohio U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Sherrod Brown; Chabria was one of Vance’s key political advisers. Chabria told The Columbus Dispatch, for example, that Vance had attended a dozen Lincoln Day dinners, a major Republican Party event, across Ohio.
     
  • In September 2017, in reporting that Vance had decided not to run, The Atlantic said he had commissioned a poll testing his viability in the Republican primaries for governor and Senate, and that Chabria was convinced Vance had a future in politics. 
     
  • Our Ohio Renewal filed a tax return only in 2017; it reported to the IRS that its receipts were less than $50,000 in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020, meaning it did not need to file a tax return. The 2017 return said the nonprofit was “dedicated to promoting the ideas and addressing the problems identified in ‘Hillbilly Elegy,’” including fighting opiate abuse.
     
  • In 2017, Our Ohio Renewal took in $221,135 in nonitemized contributions and grants and spent $50,078 on program services, including $45,000 for a survey on the “social, cultural and general welfare needs of Ohio citizens.” The return said the organization also paid $63,425 to Chabria.
     
  • Chabria would not say when the nonprofit’s survey was executed or whether it was the same polling undertaken in regard to Vance’s potential run for office.