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Ohio: Dems seek referendum on campaign finance act

The Athens News reports: The Athens County Democratic Party is taking part in an effort to put a referendum on the state ballot this fall, that if passed would repeal a "campaign finance reform" law that goes into effect March 30.

County party chair Susan Gwinn, in a news release Thursday, alleged that House Bill 1 is "not campaign finance reform. It is a way for rich Republicans to give more." She pointed out that among the law's features is language allowing a child as young as 8 years old to give up to $10,000 to a political candidate -- a provision critics of the law say will allow the children of wealthy donor families to be used to funnel more personal contributions to candidates.

Gwinn said Friday that the law also has "got the unions really concerned," because of its increased restrictions on the use of payroll deductions from members to fund campaign donations. She said one AFL-CIO lobbyist she has spoken with has predicted that had this provision been in effect when Democrat Lee Fisher ran for governor, it would have cut Fisher's organized labor contributions by up to 25 percent. ...

The law quadruples the amount an individual can donate to a political candidate, from $2,500 to $10,000, and allows individuals to give $15,000 to legislative campaign funds. It doubles the amount that a political action committee (PAC) can donate, raising it from $5,000 to $10,000.

H.B. 1 also bans issue-advocacy ads paid for by corporations and unions in the 30 days before an election. -- The Athens NEWS: Twice weekly alternative