Mayor Andrew J. Ginther, City Officials Announce Campaign Finance Reform
Mayor Andrew J. Ginther and Columbus City Council stood side
by side with other elected city officials to announce proposed historic campaign
finance reform for the city of Columbus at a press conference at the Michael B.
Coleman Government Center.
“These reforms are aimed at making sure municipal elections
are decided by the people, not by dark money dollars,” said Mayor Ginther.
“They establish the city’s first contribution limits, while also bringing all
campaign donations into the light so residents will know who is paying for
The City chose to implement contribution limits following
the September 18, 2018, U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allows disclosure of
dark money being used to influence elections. This ruling allows the city to
institute contribution limits and dark money disclosure, which will make it
less likely that money will flow “underground” and out of public disclosure.
In addition, the proposed legislation sets limits on
contributions to municipal elections for the first time in city history.
Highlights of the proposed legislation include:
- Limit annual contributions to municipal
candidates by following the state law contribution amounts of $12,707.79.
- Create new, cutting edge “dark money” disclosure
by requiring anyone issuing an election period communication to immediately
disclose their contributions, expenditures and debt.
- Continue to require more campaign finance
disclosure than state law and the most disclosure of any large city in Ohio.
- Require auditing of all campaign finance filings
to assure compliance with campaign finance laws.
- Create a system to report and investigate
alleged violations of the new city code.
- Allow a nonrefundable municipal tax credit of
$50 per individual or$100 per joint filer if they file a city tax return,
mirroring similar state law for state candidates.
“We’ve listened to residents and civic leaders, and watched
as problems like dark money in campaigns grew more common across America,” said
Columbus City Council President Shannon G. Hardin. “This is a realistic plan to
increase transparency, accountability and ensure full disclosure so that our
voters know who supports candidates and issues in Columbus.”
Columbus City Council will vote on this legislation at the
December 10, 2018, council meeting. It will be in effect in time for the
municipal elections for 2019.