On Tuesday, November 8, Ohioans will go to the polls and decide, among other things, if they are going to repeal John Kasich’s anti-union Senate Bill 5, which outlawed strikes, made the state’s 350,000 public sector workers pay more for their pensions and health care and curbed collective bargaining rights. The opinion polls indicate that the law is going down and unions will have a greater victory than they had in the Wisconsin recalls.
Kasich is getting a lot of help, and a lot of it is from outside sources. A multi-million dollar ad blitz is planned for this weekend. Among the groups funding these ads are Building a Better Ohio, a group created to fight the repeal and closely tied to the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, Restoring America, a group whose funding sources are hidden from view, and Citizens United, that lovely group that talked the Supreme Court into declaring corporations are people. Together, they are fronting $2.35 million in ads to stop the repeal. The union-backed group We Are Ohio has around $1.8 million in ads booked for this week.
And that’s just the ad buys we can track. It doesn’t include the rest of the blitz. Alliance for America’s Future, Mary Cheney’s little shadowy political group based in Virginia, vowed to spend “over seven figures” on the battle. They have been sending out mailers. Make Ohio Great, another out-of-state group funded by the Republican Governor’s Association along with Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity are also dumping money into the state.
We Are Ohio has been able to outspend Building a Better Ohio by a four-to-one margin up to now, but the new money coming in from out-of-state is intended to, if not close that gap, at least balance it during the last days before the vote.
Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-founded, Koch-funded right wing activist group, boasts of having 1.8 million members. Is that all? There are 207 million Americans eligible to vote and 150 million are registered. And all Koch has in his pocket are 1.8 million? That’s a whole 1.2% of registered voters. Unfortunately, they also have virtually bottomless sources of money. Together the Kochs are worth over $50 billion.
The media in Ohio is making sure that the people know the source of the money supporting Gov. Kasich. That is essential. Not enough people in Wisconsin were aware of how far away from them and their problems the money was coming to support Gov. Scott Walker and his agenda. We have a federal law banning the use of foreign money in our presidential elections. We should have a few banning the use of out-of-state money in state campaigns. Some dude in New York or gal in Virginia should not be influencing the decisions made by people in Ohio.