A recent report found that a dark money group promoting Gov. Mike DeWine’s gun control platform has connections to the governor himself.
Gov. DeWine announced his “STRONG Ohio” initiative in October following the mass shooting in Dayton, but the proposal has few supporters and has yet to be put up for a vote in committee.
But a new group called “Standing By Ohio” spent $8,000 on Facebook advertisements urging Ohioans to tell their representatives to support the bill, including lawmakers on the Senate committee tasked with reviewing DeWine’s proposal.
As a 501(c)(4), the group is considered a “dark money” organization, which means it is not required to disclose its donors and can receive unlimited contributions.
Tyrrell is also behind a group called “Protecting Ohio Inc.,” which paid for political mailers in support of Alice DeWine, the governor’s daughter, in her campaign for Greene County prosecutor.
The Enquirer notes that “Standing By Ohio’s website is hosted on the same IP address as pro-Mike DeWine dark money group Securing Ohio’s Future; Alice DeWine’s campaign page and the pro-Alice DeWine Protecting Ohio.”
The outlet also found that Standing By Ohio shares a P.O. Box with One Ohio United Inc., another dark money group that ran advertisements in support of former Gov. John Kasich’s 2011 budget proposal.
Angela Meleca is listed as the group’s president, but she told The Enquirer that she knew nothing about Standing By Ohio.
Chad Baus, co-founder of the Buckeye Firearms Association PAC, said “it should come as no surprise that a fake ‘grassroots’ group was necessary to attempt to create support for this piece of legislation.”
“DeWine’s SB 221 has little support in the Legislature, and even less among gun owners,” he added.
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