Are Ohio House Democrats Breaking Campaign Finance Laws?

Evidence continues to suggest that Ohio House Democrats, in their zeal to capture the Ohio House, are improperly and illegally coordinating with Super PAC’s funded by Hollywood bigwigs.

Take, for instance, Ohio House candidate Mary Lightbody who is running for Ohio’s open House District 19. On October 26, 2018, she thanked both “One Vote At A Time for the wonderful campaign video,” as well as “director Joss Whedon for the financial support that made it possible.”

And on August 12 Lightbody again thanked “the women of One Vote At A Time for taking an entire day to film” Lightbody in her “daily routine and along the campaign trail.”

Finally, on August 9 Lightbody expressed her excitement “to be with One Vote At A Time discussing why [she’s] running for Ohio House District 19.”

According to its website, One Vote At A Time “is a group of a female filmmakers who create campaign ads for progressive candidates without the means to make their own.”

“We give candidates a platform to share their stories and stances because we believe in them — and believe that if voters can see what we see, they’ll enact change come election day,” their website adds.

Legally speaking, however, One Vote At A Time is a federally registered Super PAC that can raise unlimited donations from corporations or individuals and make unlimited independent expenditures.  However, in states like Ohio that have contribution limitations, they are legally forbidden from coordinating with candidates.  But, as evidenced by Lightbody’s Facebook page, One Vote At A Time is clearly coordinating with candidates, and Lightbody isn’t the only one.

Take Ohio House Democrat candidate Casey Weinstein running in House District 37.  On August 13, he also posted  “a behind the scenes shot of [his] campaign filming with One Vote At A Time.”

One Vote At A Time contracts with a corporate for profit company for the actual video shoots.  That company is called Oh Must You Productions and is owned by Joss Whedon, which explains why these candidates and others, in an attempt to hide their illegal coordination, made campaign expenditures to Oh Must You Productions.

For example, on September 23 Lightbody’s campaign committee wrote a check to Oh Must You Productions/One Vote At A Time for $4,084.94.  However, the ad was still free for her because on September 20 Whedon wrote a personal check to her campaign for $4,085.00.

But other candidates may not have caught the error. Allison Russo, an Ohio House Democratic candidate in House District 24, received a free ad but her latest report showed no expenditures for production. Likewise, Weinstein’s latest campaign report shows no checks paid to Oh Must You Productions.

Finally, Lorraine Wilburn, the Democratic candidate in House District 48, Beth Workman, the Democratic candidate in House District 92, and Taylor Sappington, the Democratic candidate in House District 94, all received free ads from One Vote At A Time.  However, their latest campaign reports show no ensuing expenditures to Oh Must You Productions.

_ _ _

Scott Pullins is an attorney, charter school board member, and a regular contributor for The Ohio Star.
Photo “Mary Lightbody” by








Related posts