Eye on Education

Issue 2 Campaign Cost $16 Million More Than 2010 Gubernatorial Election

Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images

Dave Matthews Band musician Boyd Tinsley, at left, was the largest single individual donor to the campaign to repeal Senate Bill 5.

Supporters and opponents of collective bargaining law Senate Bill 5 contributed a total of $54 million to their causes. That’s more than the $38 million collected in the 2010 gubernatorial election.

But it’s short of the $56 million spent in the 2009 battle over casinos, which University of Akron Political Science professor John Green told us was the record for a statewide issue campaign.

SB 5 would have sharply limited collective bargaining for Ohio’s public sector employees. Unions waged a successful campaign to put a referendum on law on the Nov. 8 ballot. That ballot measure was called Issue 2. Issue 2 was defeated by a 62 to 38 percent margin, meaning that Senate Bill 5 was repealed.

We are Ohio, the campaign working to repeal SB 5, raised a total of $42.2 million. That included $9.8 just million from Ohio teacher and university professor unions and another $5.4 million from national teacher unions including the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers and its parent union, the AFL-CIO. (Those totals include both cash and in-kind contributions.)

Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley, who contributed $10,000, was the campaign’s biggest individual donor. Tinsley, who lives in Virginia, has given thousands to Democratic campaigns this year alone.

[See the list of We Are Ohio donors from the Ohio Secretary of State's office.]

Building a Better Ohio, the campaign supporting SB 5, raised a total of $12 million, including both cash and in-kind contributions. But the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that other groups also spent money to support the law:

The conservative group Alliance for America’s Future spent about $730,000 in late October on a mail campaign, according to an independent expenditure report filed on Monday. Citizens United, a Washington-based conservative advocacy organization, spent about $100,000 on television advertising in early November to support Issue 2.

Because the pro-SB 5 campaign was structured as a 501c(4) parent organization with an associated state campaign committee, it doesn’t have to report anything about donors to its parent organization.

The campaign’s report to the Secretary of State’s Office shows contributions to the state campaign committee: Americans for Prosperity contributed about $50,000 worth of phone banks and other services and Kentucky group Restoring America contributed $500,000 of media buys.

[See the list of Building a Better Ohio donors, as reported to the Ohio Secretary of State's office.]

Building a Better Ohio also released a list of donors to the group’s parent committee to the media:

Some of those donors included the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio National Financial Services of Cincinnati, Ohioans to Protect Jobs, and Make Ohio Great, a group affiliated with the Republican Governors Association.


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Kelley/100000254963653 John Kelley

    “Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley, who contributed $10,000,” The Ant’s are Marching and rising.

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