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Reps. Sweeney, Russo call for hearings on anti-corruption bill

Ohio Anti-Corruption Act would shed light on dark money, close campaign finance loopholes
July 29, 2020
Democrat Newsroom

Reps. Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) today called for hearings on House Bill 739, anti-corruption legislation that would require dark money groups to identify their funders and disclose their spending. The bill would also strengthen restrictions against foreign corporations and foreign governments influencing Ohio elections. Sweeney and Russo introduced the bill earlier this week.

“One-party rule in Ohio has led to a culture of corruption. The allegations against Speaker Householder are only the most recent and staggering example,” said Rep. Sweeney. “Dark money groups with innocuous labels like ‘Generation Now’ have influenced our state politics for years. By making people and corporations put their names behind these organizations and disclose their contributions, we can begin to bring transparency and accountability back to our state government. Ohioans deserve no less.”

Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford)was arrested last week amid an FBI investigation into the alleged use of a 501(c)(4) organization to hide the origins of over $60 million, which was funneled to himself, his associates, and preferred political candidates in exchange for passing the billion-dollar House Bill 6 corporate bailout and squashing referendum efforts.

“Recent allegations involving the speaker and House Bill 6 demonstrate just how necessary serious campaign finance reform is,” said Rep. Russo. “This bill will strengthen transparency and accountability so that dark money and corruption cannot subvert the will of the people who elected us to serve. Ohioans deserve better from their government, and this bill ensures the best interests of our constituents remain front and center.”

HB 739, known as the Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, would do the following:

  1. Close Dark Money Loopholes - Non-profit corporations like 501(c)(4)s and limited liability companies (LLCs) have become vehicles for big money special interests to hide their spending. These companies currently do not have to disclose their funders. The Ohio Anti-Corruption Act closes these loopholes, requiring these corporations and LLCs to disclose contributions meant to influence elections.
  1. Require Transparency – TheOhio Anti-Corruption Act will strengthen disclosure by requiring corporations and LLCs to tell us more about their true owners and the actual source of funds behind the deceptively benign names of their organizations. The integrity of our democracy depends on openness and accountability.
  1. Strengthen Ban on Foreign Money - Under the Ohio Anti-Corruption Act, domestic corporations with foreign owners and decision makers will be banned from spending in our elections. Large foreign companies also won’t be able to get around our current foreign spending ban by opening an American subsidiary funded mostly with foreign money to spend unlimited sums in our elections.