Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich received $122,000 in consulting fees in 2016 from a group that works for food sustainability and safety, his campaign said Tuesday.
Kucinich, a former congressman and Cleveland mayor, was called upon to release the sources of his income Monday by an opponent, former U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray.
The Dispatch earlier this year requested that candidates provide their three most recent years' worth of returns.
State Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman last week provided copies of his, including supporting schedules. Cordray allowed reporters to inspect his at his Columbus headquarters. Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill of Chagrin Falls provided a copy of a single year's returns.
On Monday, Kucinich provided summaries of two years' worth of returns but said the supporting documents could only be inspected in Cleveland.
Cleveland.com reported that Kucinich made about $170,000 each year as a Fox News contributor. The paper reported that in 2016, he made $120,000 from consulting, but his tax documents didn't show the source of the money.
Kucinich spokesman Andy Juniewicz on Tuesday said it came from the Center for Food Safety, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit that says it's dedicated to “organizing a powerful food movement that is fighting the industrial model and promoting organic, ecological, and sustainable alternatives.”
“Dating back to his days in the Congress, Dennis Kucinich was a leader in the area of consumer protection, especially as it related to (genetically modified foods), food additives, chemically treated foods, and dangerous toxins and substances, such as Dicambia, 2-4-D, and glyphosate,” Juniewicz said in an email. “In 2016, legislation was moving through the Congress that might have stripped states of their ability to test and label foods for safety and content, including GMO and other safety-related criteria. Both Dennis and Elizabeth (Kucinich, his wife,) worked with the Center for Food Safety on research, analysis, and strategy.”
Kucinich's funding sources were called into question last month after he defended — and then said he'd return — $20,000 he received from a group that is sympathetic to Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.
In a 1:33 a.m. Tuesday press release, Juniewicz ripped reporters' reluctance to travel to Cleveland — except for Cleveland reporters, whom he praised — after the Kucinich campaign refused to email, fax or overnight mail (at the media's expense) copies of the forms:
“We’ve offered the Columbus Dispatch and every other interested news organization in Ohio the opportunity to review the tax documents they’ve been asking for. They can spend as much time as they want. They can ask any questions they want. But it’s dishonest and professionally unethical to report or imply that we’re hiding anything. If any of them choose to report further, we hope they will report that they chose not to come to Cleveland to not look at the information that they have asked for. They themselves will have to answer for that. And they should.”