Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland denounced Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich for accepting $20,000 to give a speech to a group that supports Syrian president Bashar Assad.
On Tuesday, Kucinich reported receiving $20,000 for a speech last year from the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. The group is a parent organization of the pro-Assad Syrian Solidarity Movement, according to business filings.
"Kucinich has been an outspoken defender of the Assad regime in Syria even as it killed countless people and has repeatedly used chemical weapons against defenseless civilians," Strickland said on Wednesday.
The U.S. and its allies last week attacked Syrian stores of chemical weapons that it believed Assad had been using on his people.
On its website, the Syrian Solidarity Movement criticizes what it characterizes as a "false western narrative about Syria" and praises Assad's government.
Strickland compared Kucinich’s controversy to the sudden resignation of Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger last week.
"The Ohio Statehouse is currently ravaged by scandal,l having just watched our Speaker of the House resign because of an FBI investigation into his personal finances,” Strickland said. “I believe we simply cannot have a candidate for governor who has questionable financial dealings of his own.”
Strickland did not say how Kucinich should proceed in the governor's race.
"I think Dennis has to make that decision for himself, but I think his obligation is to be crystal clear and totally transparent with the people of Ohio," Strickland said. "Then I think the people of Ohio will make the right decision."
Strickland endorses Democratic candidate Rich Cordray for the upcoming governor's race.