I believe it’s time to shine a bright light on “dark money” in politics and put limits on contributions to politicians in Columbus.

So, what’s the plan? Dark money disclosure, historic contribution limits, and new opportunities for everyone to get involved in our elections.

Today, I announced a campaign finance reform package that will make sure municipal elections are decided by the people, not by dark money dollars. This plan will establish the first contribution limits in our city’s history, while also bringing all campaign donations into the light so residents will know who is paying for political ads.

We’ve seen the problems other cities and our nation face when they institute unreasonable contribution limits in a post-Citizens United world and don’t address dark money. Money doesn’t “get out of their politics”; instead, it flows underground and out of public disclosure.

That’s why our plan adopts the contribution limits from state law and tackles dark money disclosure. Just as importantly, our plan gives residents a new way to support the candidate of their choice by taking a nonrefundable tax credit for contributions to local candidates — up to $50 for an individual and $100 for joint filers.

Highlights of our campaign finance reform plan 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.

This is a bold, historic plan for our city and I hope you’ll join me as we move quickly to get this passed for the 2019 elections in Columbus!