Voter referendums are a threat to Ohio and should be reined in

Ohio’s sovereignty is at risk every time a referendum is put on the ballot. The General Assembly needs to address the terms by which a referendum and initiative is funded to prevent outside influences from impacting the governance of our state. If a state referendum or issue is to be put on the ballot, then only money raised in the state of Ohio should be used to fund it.

In light of HB 194, Senate Bill 5, Issues 2, 3, 4, and 5 in 2006, and other similar issues and referendums of historical record, the residents of Ohio should be asking themselves if union and corporate interests from outside Ohio should be trampling over the laws made by those we elected by funding initiatives and referendums to serve their own interests and/or to justify their existence.

According to the secretary of state, corporations and unions can give unlimited funds to issue and referendum campaigns provided those funds are used only for that particular issue. There are no campaign finance limits on these issues, nor are PACs required. What we have seen happen in our state is national labor groups and corporations from Washington D.C. and abroad spend large sums of money on these issue and referendum campaigns. This leaves the Ohio voter at the mercy of these predatory interest groups whose interests lie in their own selfish designs rather than the interest of Ohio.

I propose the following changes to the Ohio campaign finance laws.

1.) For Ohio issues and referendums, only money raised in Ohio can be used to finance those campaigns. If corporations and national labor groups want to give to a referendum or issue campaign, they must set up a PAC like everyone else and be subject to strict campaign finance contribution limits and reporting requirements.

2.) Funding for circulation of petitions for issues and referendums in turn must be financed by money raised only in Ohio. If individuals are being paid to circulate petitions, that money can only be paid out of a registered state PAC.

3.) State and local unions/corporations in Ohio shall be subject to the same contribution rules as national unions and corporations. Money can only be given through a PAC subject to limits and reporting requirements.

Restore Ohio’s sovereignty. Contact your state representatives and senators and tell them Ohioans should have the final say in government, not national corporate and union interests.

Alex Mangie, CPA, Canfield