NEWBURY, Ohio – Recently in a Federal Court in the State of Ohio the ban on corporate and labor union spending for Political causes has been lifted by an agreement made in federal court on September 16th 2010. This case was brought by the Ohio Right to Life Society against the Ohio Elections Committee. In this case the Right to Life group posed that the ban on this type corporate spending went against our first amendment rights.
The entire foundation of this important ruling has been that many people believed the original “political spending ban” had opposed the “right to free speech” portion of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which is a part of the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment covers many aspects of the peoples freedoms and rights, one of which gives us the right to express our political views and opinions publicly with no fear of recrimination.
From Statements made on their website by Mike Gonidakis the Executive Director of the Right to Life Society, in Columbus Ohio, Based on this ruling corporations can now engage in what is called “independent advocacy” where a corporation can use their own funds to campaign either for or against a specific candidate. “This consent decree does not authorize direct contributions to or coordination with candidates, it simply protects the free speech rights of corporations, labor organizations, and advocacy groups, like everyone else, to tell people the candidates they support and why” said Mike Gonidakis.
For over a hundred years now there has been a ban on corporate spending for political campaigns in the State of Ohio. This ban was designed to prevent the corruption of political parties and elections in the State of Ohio. Regular campaign funding process will still be handled in the same manner as before, and this ruling has no bearing on that process. The removal of restrictions could prove beneficial for all parties involved in the political campaign process in Ohio.
This ruling regarding corporate and labor organizations spending on political campaigns was made In the United States District Court Southern District of Ohio Eastern Division on September 14, 2010 presided by U.S. District Judge George C. Smith.
The ramifications of this ruling could affect politics across Ohio right down to the local level as it is now possible to give full support to a candidate or a political cause with as much funding as you choose to utilize, providing it is separate of any specific affiliation with a candidate or their campaign.
This is a major change to the campaign funding process in Ohio and will definitely change how political election campaigns are run in the future! Many feel that this recent ruling on corporate donations has the potential to significantly change the nature of political campaigns in Ohio!
Essentially what this new rule allows for is simply that any entity wishing to spend their money in Ohio either for or against a political candidate can do so with no limits to their spending. However, there remains a ban on “direct donations” being given to a specific election or campaign committee.
This ruling has the potential to turn the campaign system on its ear, and can affect the way people vote since there will be much more lively input from concerned parties who are no longer being held back in their ability to speak freely in a political sense regarding issues that they are working to support or oppose. I would expect it to create a much more lively show in the political world over the next few years.
If you are interested in viewing the actual court documentation: “Case: 2:08 -cv -00492 -GCS -EPD DOC#: 80 Filed: 09/15/10.
The link to the actual consent decree from the Ohio Right to Life Society website:
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