In the reporting on those phone calls that some as yet unnamed Governor was involved in to urge legislators to impeach killer Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, one Jonathan Petrea speaking for the Ohio telemarketing squad that ran the show:
Angel Kane and Ciero Johnson II, are listed as the incorporators of Grand Solutions Inc., according to Open Corporates. Kane is listed as Grand Solution’s registrant with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
Jonathan Petrea, who identified himself as a spokesperson for Kane, said that the portion of the call that identifies the governor was nothing more than a motivation tactic by her to get the most out of her workers.
“She was trying to move her workers,” Petrea said. “She uses that tactic to increase productivity.”
Petrea said that no “politician, political campaign, party, or political organization” facilitated the robocalls, but refused to disclose who did [Austin Goss, “Voice Recording Raises Questions over Origin of Ravnsborg Telemarketing Campaign,” KSFY, 2022.01.28].
Political consultant and heart attack survivor Jonathan Petrea doesn’t work for Grand Solutons Inc. The Cleveland man has his own gig presiding over Ascendant Communications and senior partnering at Ascendant Public Policy Group. His firm has donated big money to the Republican Party of Cuyahoga County and to back Marsy’s Law in Ohio.
Petrea is a former Koch Brothers flunky who had trouble paying petitioners he hired to get signatures for Cleveland mayoral candidate Tony Madalone in 2017:
Jonathon Petrea, senior partner of the Ascendant Public Policy Group, which was hired to help collect signatures, told me Tuesday that he experienced a “cash-flow problem” and that workers will be paid Wednesday. He said that he paid Ventura some money from his pocket to show her a sign of good faith.
“I feel horrible,” he said, and promised to deliver on all commitments. He said that collecting the signatures was more expensive than he anticipated.
“I’m not a shifty guy,” he said.
Petrea is a former Ohio “grassroots director” for Americans for Prosperity, an advocacy group funded by the conservative billionaire brothers David H. and Charles G. Koch. Petrea also was district office director and campaign manager in 2006 through 2008 for then-State Representative Josh Mandel, who is now state treasurer [Mark Maymik, “Tony Madalone Consultant Failed to Pay People Promised Money for Collecting Mayoral Signatures,” Cleveland.com, 2017.07.11].
Petrea ran a big phone-banking operation for a 2009 casino ballot measure in Ohio. He campaigned for Newt Gingrich in Ohio in the 2012 Presidential cycle. Last May, Petrea organized a “star-studded roster” of right-wing radicals (Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Candace Owens) to speak at the Ohio Political Summit. So he’s definitely Kristi Noem’s kind of guy.
Petrea also has some experience in shady campaign finance in Ohio, helping the non-profit Government Integrity Fund move over $1 million in 2012 into dark-money ads backing his pal, anti-gay climate-change denier Republican challenger Josh Mandel, and attacking Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown. The Fund told the IRS it doesn’t spend money to influence the election of candidates:
The Fund’s IRS application did provide other clues about its intentions. In one section of the form, the Fund said its budget for 2011 was $78,000. It then projected a budget of $6.7 million for 2012, an election year, before going back down to $50,000 for 2013, a nonelection year.
…The Fund’s application for tax-exempt status also sheds a bit more light on who is running the group. It names four men as board members, including Norris. Another of the board members, Jeffrey L. Dean, referred questions to Jonathan Petrea, who was campaign manager and district director for Mandel when he ran for the state legislature.
Petrea told ProPublica he had no official role in the Fund, but helped Norris find potential board members.
“I was just doing a guy a favor by putting him in touch with people who might be interested,” Petrea said.
Norris and the Mandel campaign did not respond to questions about Petrea’s relationship to the Fund or the candidate [Justin Elliott, “Dark Money Group Told IRS It Wouldn’t Be Political—Then Spent $1 Million on Campaign Ads,” ProPublica, 2012.10.04].
Petrea is not known to have worked for Kristi Noem before. But that an Ohio political operator with national connections shows up at an Ohio call center and speaks to the press to assure us that no political committee was involved in making some significantly political calls to South Dakotans signals that some important right-wing Republican is connected to this telemarketing.