Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced he fulfilled his pledge to bring more transparency to the Secretary of State’s office.
Unanimously passed at the end of 2020, Senate Bill 107 (SB107) is an act to “allow certain entities to file campaign finance statements electronically, to require the Secretary of State to make the information in those electronic statements available online.”
The online repository “enhances transparency by allowing campaign finance reports for local candidates and committees to be filed electronically with county boards of elections,” the press release stated.
Before SB107, candidates and committees had to file required paperwork at their respective boards of election. Inquiring constituents, activists and journalists had to contact the BOE and thumb through documents to satisfy their inquiries.
“It’s more efficient for local candidates and their treasurers, but perhaps more important than that is that it makes local campaign finance more transparent,” said LaRose. “It provides better opportunities for journalists, or students, or researchers to look at where candidates are getting their money and what it’s being spent on. In 2021, we expect that kind of transparency, and that’s exactly what you get with this new system.”
Finally, your local politicians have the option to file their campaign finance reports online – giving voters the transparency they deserve.
This is going to be a great way to hold them accountable. Let's make sure they use it.
— Frank LaRose (@FrankLaRose) January 8, 2021
A January 29 campaign finance filing deadline is looming and according to the secretary’s announcement “any local candidate or committee” may choose to use the new site, which can be viewed by clicking here. Instructions for using the new portal are here.
The ethical and financial effects of opaque political donations were thrust into the public conversation in 2020, a year in which:
- former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder (R-Glenford) was slapped with federal bribery charges;
- Cincinnati City Council President Tamaya Dennard (D) along with Council Members Jeffrey Pastor (R), P.G. Sittenfeld (D), were charged with bribery;
- Toledo City Council Members Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes and Keith Mitchell were all arrested on several charges, accused of participating in a bribery and extortion scheme.
Also Friday, a Cincinnati newspaper reported that FirstEnergy Corp. contributed one-third of total receipts to a dark money group that heavily funded Ohio Governor Mike DeWine – also alleging that the dark money fully funded his daughter’s campaign for County Prosecutor. First Energy Corp. is the Akron-based company at the center of the Householder, et.al. bribery allegations.
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