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Visiting New Albany Company, Paul Ryan Talks Taxes But Not Comey

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan tours Accel Inc. in New Albany on May 10, 2017.
Andy Chow
Ohio Public Radio
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan tours Accel Inc. in New Albany on May 10, 2017.

Paul Ryan, the Republican U.S. House Speaker and Miami University alum, was in New Albany on Wednesday, talking up the need for federal tax reform. But he avoided the story of the day.

“Once in every generation you have an opportunity,” Ryan told an audience of employees of Accel Inc. and members of the media. “The last time we did this, this being reform our tax system, was the year I got my driver’s license: 1986.”

Ryan called Columbus “the Silicon Valley of manufacturing,” saying the city has shown the country what “high-skilled manufacturing and how getting jobs from overseas back to America can look like.”

Ryan made his comments at Accel, a company that the Columbus Dispatch reports is locked in a fight with Ohio tax officials. The state says the company owes more than $3 million in back taxes and fees after wrongly identifying itself as a manufacturer instead of a packager.

The company’s website calls itself a leader in the contract packing industry.

Ryan declined to take reporter questions about the story dominating national headlines: President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey. Comey was leading investigations into the Trump campaign's possible dealings with Russian officials as well as Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“"The people in the press, they're here and they want me to listen to me talk about tax reform,” Ryan joked, before saying he would speak about Comey at a later time.

Hours after the event, Ryan told Fox News that President Trump lost confidence in the former FBI director.

Outside the New Albany event, Democrats and their allies called for an independent investigation into Russian involvement in the election.

“This is a very troubling act,” said Ohio Democratic party chair David Pepper. “We’ve seen some Republicans come out and say they’re troubled by it. The words only go so far if there isn’t an actual call for an independent investigation, so we hope we see that next.”

Inside the tax reform roundtable, Ryan was joined by Central Ohio Republican Congressmen Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi, who issued a statement saying, “There are many questions about Director Comey’s firing that the White House needs to answer."