COLUMBUS — State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, is co-sponsoring the “Light of Day” bill, which seeks to shine light on campaign funding to end dark money.
State Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, last week announced her plan to introduce the legislation, which would force organizations to disclose funding sources for money used for certain political purposes.
“This is an opportune moment to strive for more transparency with Ohio’s campaign finance laws,” Cutrona said in a news release. “Ohioans deserve to have faith and trust within our institution, and moving forward with this legislation will help restore that to the Ohio House of Representatives. Because we deserve better.”
The bill would require nonprofit entities, organizations and corporations to file a disclosure that shows sources of all funds received and used for or against an issue or candidate on the ballot for any election in Ohio. The disclosure would be filed with the secretary of state, and groups would face a criminal penalty for noncompliance. Key provisions of the legislation include:
- Separates the definitions of political action committee and political contributing entity;
- Removes exception for continuing association from current law; this would require that 501(c)(4)s, unincorporated groups and LLCS file political expenditure disclosures;
- Any and all political contributions, regardless of dollar amount, donors and donations must be disclosed;
- Expands the definition of political contributing entity. A PAC is formed for purely political purposes, while a political contributing entity is an organization that is engaging in political donations, but the creation of such organization is not for political purposes;
- Political contributing entities are required to keep separate accounts earmarked for political expenditure purposes;
- Individuals donating to political contributing entities for political expenditures must be disclosed. Individuals donating to an organization for charitable purposes or purposes unrelated to political expenditures are not required to be disclosed;
- Political contributing entities that refuse to create a separate account for political expenditures and donate to political causes out of their general funds must disclose all donations and donors.