In September, an aide to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) urged redistricting officials to add the headquarters of the Timken Co. to the new district of freshmen Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio).
On September 12th, 2011, Tom Whatman, the director of the speaker’s “Team Boehner” group wrote in an email to redistricting officials about the change. “Thanks guys. Very important to someone important to us all. I relly [sic] should have thought of this,” he wrote.
Just one month later on October 19th, Timken President James Griffith made a $50,000 donation to the “Boehner for Speaker” committee according to recently released fundraising records. That’s in addition to the $50,800 that retired CEO William Timken Jr. donated to the same committee in May 2011. Timken’s PAC and employees have made $27,500 in additional donations to Boehner’s committees, according to our analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).
Renacci, in whose district the new “Timken Peninsula” resides, has received $37,500 from Timken executives, according to our analysis of data from CRP.
According to the Canton Repository, a spokesperson from Team Boehner responded to the original story about the carve out by saying, “The Timken Corporation is a major regional employer. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that there was interest in trying to address their concerns.”
While it’s unclear what those “concerns” were around redistricting, Timken clearly has multiple concerns at the federal level as it spent $411,380 on lobbying in 2011, according to CRP. With an apparent interest in the Chinese job market (they employ 4,000 people there), reports show that the company lobbied on Chinese trade policy. A crackdown on Chinese currency would surely impact the company. In the fourth quarter of 2011, the company lobbied on free trade agreements, the Affordable Care Act, labor issues, and renewable energy standards, among other things.
This raises a question as to what the company’s “concerns” were and if Boehner knew he’d receive such a sizable donation if he addressed them.