Nineteen million dollars is a lot of money. Especially in Ohio. For a ballot issue. In an off-year election.
Under those circumstances, it’s an astonishing amount of money.
But that’s how much We Are Ohio, the group campaigning to repeal Ohio’s collective bargaining law Senate Bill 5, has raised since July, according to campaign finance reports filed today. SB 5 is on the Nov. 8 ballot as Issue 2.
Building a Better Ohio, the group campaigning to keep SB 5, reported raising $8 million over the same time period. Because the pro-SB 5 campaign is structured as a 501c(4) organization with an associated state campaign committee, it doesn’t have to publicly report donations to the parent organization. So Building a Better Ohio’s nonprofit released the names of its donors, but not the amounts they gave.
We Are Ohio Raises More Than Kasich
The amount raised by the anti-SB 5 group is more than Gov. John Kasich raised when he was running for governor last year. He raised about $18.3 million then. And keep in mind that last year’s gubernatorial campaign, where Kasich and Strickland raised $38 million collectively, was record-setting.
This year, many unions even tacked on extra dues to support the opposition effort, including many teacher unions. University of Akron Political Science professor John Green says that’s “because they see this as so central not only to their interests but the their values.”
Green estimates the average ballot issue in Ohio costs a total of $4 or $5 million dollars. In other words, the Issue 2 campaign this year may cost 10 times more than the average ballot issue in Ohio.
The state record for an issue campaign is the $56 million spent in the 2009 battle over casinos, Green said.Nearly half of the $19 million raised by We Are Ohio in the most recent reporting period comes directly from teacher or faculty unions, which might not be shocking given that the teachers make up a large part of public-sector union employees in Ohio.
But the $9 million from teachers and faculty unions doesn’t count contributions from individual union members or leaders. (Cleveland teacher union president David Quolke, for one, chipped in $500. Columbus teacher union president Rhonda Johnson came up with $100.)
The $9 million from the unions also includes $53,600 from out-of-state college faculty unions, including $35,000 from faculty unions in Michigan.
And, as in past reporting periods, nearly all of the money–98 percent for this particular reporting period–comes from union coffers rather than directly from individuals. Though, as has been observed before, unions are in fact made up of people.
Top Donors to Issue 2 Repeal Campaign (current reporting period)
|1||OHIO EDUCATION ASSOCIATION||OH||$4,750,000|
|2||NATIONAL LABOR TABLE||(DC)||$1,500,000|
|3||NATIONAL LABOR TABLE||(DC)||$1,000,000|
|4||NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION||DC||$1,000,000|
|5||OHIO CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION LOCAL 11||OH||$1,000,000|
|6||AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY & MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES AFL-CIO||DC||$1,000,000|
|7||NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION||DC||$1,000,000|
|8||OHIO CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE ASSOCIATION LOCAL 11||OH||$600,000|
|9||SERVICE EMPLOYEES INTERNTATIONAL UNION LOCAL 1199||NY||$500,000|
|10||UNITED FOOD & COMMERCIAL WORKERS INTERNATIONAL UNION||DC||$500,000|
Source: Ohio Secretary of State
Donors to Issue 2 Support Campaign
Pro-SB 5 campaign group Building a Better Ohio has not released information on how much each of its donors gave. However, the group has released a list of donors (scroll down to read it). Some of the pro-SB 5 donors include:
- Altair Learning Management, which provides services to the state’s largest e-school, the Electronic Classroom of Tommorow;
- Owens Corning, the Toledo-based fiberglass manufacturer;
- The Lipton Distributing Company, a Youngstown-based liquor distributor; and
- Discount Drug Mart, the Medina-based drug store chain;
Building a Better Ohio donor list: