Secretary of State Jon Husted should enforce a controversial rule that limits election spending by companies, nonprofits and unions, Democrats said Thursday. The regulation requires companies, unions and nonprofits to disclose when they pay for election ads. It also prohibits companies from spending money to influence elections for a year after they receive state or federal money, such as through a contract or a grant to promote job creation. Ohio House Republicans drew attention to the rule last week by passing legislation that would void it, saying limiting corporate election spending was a violation of free speech. But a spokesman for Husted, a Republican, said he couldn’t enforce the regulation anyway, since its provisions, and consequences for not following them, aren’t found anywhere in law. That doesn’t matter, Democrats told reporters Thursday.
“It’s still an administrative rule that he’s required to follow. The idea that constitutional officeholders are saying that they don’t have to follow rules is certainly something the public should be made aware of,” said state Rep. John Patrick Carney, D-Columbus. “There needs to be accountability.”
Forcing Husted to enforce the rule would require a court challenge, which Democrats indicated they are not currently pursuing.
A spokesman for Husted reiterated the secretary of state’s position: He will support companies’ voluntarily disclosing their spending. In fact, Husted sponsored a bill when he was in the Ohio Senate that would have required companies and unions to report independent election spending. (The bill passed the Senate unanimously and was co-sponsored by Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, who is challenging Husted’s re-election bid.)
But Husted can’t force companies to follow the regulation in question without consequences laid out in law, spokesman Matt McClellan said Thursday.
Full Article: Democrats: Husted must enforce election spending rule.