Companies, nonprofits and unions wouldn’t have to disclose when they pay for an election advertisement, and corporations with state contracts would be allowed to spend money on elections, under a provision that passed the Ohio House Wednesday. The provision would void a rule implemented by former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner that governs election spending by corporations, nonprofits and labor unions. The rule requires the groups to disclose when they spend money to advocate for or against the election of a candidate, both through a statement included in the ad and through a form filed with the secretary of state’s office. But Republicans’ main issue with the rule, a spokesman said, is its prohibition of election-related spending by corporations with state or federal government contracts within one year of their receiving money from the government. They also wanted to void the part of the rule that prohibits spending in elections by corporations with more than 20 percent ownership by non-U.S. citizens or corporations based outside the U.S.
Those are barriers unions and nonprofits don’t face, thus limiting the free speech of corporations, GOP caucus spokesman Mike Dittoe said.
“We do not believe that government should be stifling the First Amendment rights of anyone,” Dittoe said in an email.
Brunner created the rule after the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010 lifted restrictions on independent spending by corporations and labor unions. The rule should be eliminated because it unconstitutionally contradicts that decision, said Rep. Matt Huffman, R-Lima.
Full Article: House passes measure to void election-spending rule.