File #: 3386-2018    Version:
Type: Ordinance Status: Passed
File created: 11/27/2018 In control: Rules & Reference Committee
On agenda: 1/14/2019 Final action: 1/16/2019
Title: To enact Columbus City Code sections 107.02, 107.03, 107.04, and 170.05 107.05 regarding contribution limits for municipal candidates; campaign finance disclosure; disclosure for election period communications; new duties for the city clerk and city attorney; and fines and penalties for violation of the new code; and to repeal existing Columbus City Code section 2321.53.
Sponsors: Michael Stinziano, Shannon G. Hardin
Attachments: 1. COLUMBUS CITY CODE CAMPAIGN FINANCE, 2. Amendment 3386-2018.pdf, 3. Certified Copy, 4. Certified Copy, 5. Certified Copy, 6. Legislation Report, 7. Certified Copy, 8. Certified Copy

This ordinance establishes new Columbus City Code sections as follows: 107.02 - Campaign finance; 107.03 Election Period Communications and Disclosure of Sources of Funds; 107.04 - Administration -
Campaign Finance; and 107.05 - Violation - Penalty and Process; and repeals current Columbus City Code section 2321.53 - Campaign Finance.

In 2014, Columbus voters overwhelmingly approved charter amendments to build on the city’s ability to address ethics, campaign contributions, and campaign disclosure. Mayor Andrew J. Ginther proposed and Columbus City Council adopted sweeping, comprehensive ethics laws, as well as the most frequent, timely and transparent disclosure of campaign spending for any city in Ohio.

In 2018, Mayor Ginther, in cooperation with Council President Shannon G. Hardin, directed city staff to research and recommend regulation of “dark money,” as well as the city’s first limits on the amounts and sources of campaign contributions. A review of other major cities in America reveals a wide range of campaign finance regulations. These include limits established at the local or state level; limits applied “per election,” “per calendar year,” or a combination of those options; variations in allowable contribution sources; and no clear trend in limits or disclosure requirements.

Research also highlighted the alarming proliferation of dark money, SuperPACs, and independent expenditure campaigns after the Citizens United decision by the United States Supreme Court. The sources behind most of the money raised by candidates and political groups are publicly disclosed. When the source of political money is hidden from disclosure, that's considered dark money. The two most common vehicles for dark money in politics are politically active nonprofits and corporate entities such as SuperPACs or limited liability companies. In the 2018 election cycle, more than $1 billion in dark money was spent to influence elections in America.

A recent Supreme Cou...

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