Linden Neighborhood Conversation

Robin Davis
Director of Media Relations

Melanie Crabill
Communications Manager

Media alert
News Date: November 28, 2018

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 political ads.”

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.