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Commentary: Lobbyists and Billionaire being used to fund Issue 1 campaign

by DemocracyIssues.com, an Ohio-based Voter Rights initiative

Gavel in reflecting pool outside the Ohio Supreme Court

Voting Rights to be eliminated

A small group of Ohio Politicians are leading the effort to pass Issue 1 that will make it almost impossible for any future citizen-led Constitutional Amendments to succeed. (https://www.democracyissues.com/ballotissuesattacked)

An Ohio law passed in 1912, or 111 years ago, permits citizens to organize a ballot issue to change or eliminate laws put in place by legislators who are out of touch with the will of the voters.

This right will be virtually eliminated if Ohio Politicians are successful in winning the August 8 Special Election for Issue 1.

Truth and transparency

Supporters of Issue 1 claim that it is needed in order to “protect the Ohio Constitution from continued abuse by special interests and out-of-state activists,” as stated by Frank LaRose, Ohio Secretary of State.

Media organizations around the state have revealed information showing that this information from LaRose and other Politicians leading this effort was not truthful, and instead has misled Ohio citizens in an attempt to deceive them into forfeiting their long-held rights involving citizen-led ballot issues.

Ohio and Out of State Lobbyists were asked to fund $6 million for Issue 1 campaign

A June 1 article by Andrew Tobias on Cleveland.com revealed surprising and disappointing plans by supporters of Issue 1 for funding the communications campaign to reach voters. —

“The closed-door presentation . . . shows how Republican legislative leaders backing the campaign plan, at least in part, to raise $6 million to bankroll their efforts: by leaning on Capitol Square lobbyists during budget season, a pivotal time for lobbyists as they seek to add their myriad priorities to the massive spending bill.”

Every two years, the Ohio Legislature works to pass a biannual budget to fund the state’s operations. And prior to passage of the budget that occurs by the end of June, professional lobbyists from Ohio and around the country spend significant effort to obtain the attention and support of legislators in order to secure state budget dollars for client projects.

It is these state budget dollars that are provided by Ohio taxpayers that Politicians supporting Issue 1 are using to—

” . . . lean on Capital Square lobbyists during budget season, a pivotal time for lobbyists as they seek to add their myriad priorities to the massive spending bill.”

Opposition to Issue 1 will grow further as citizens learn how their tax dollars are being used to obtain funding from professional lobbyists and their corporate clients for the campaign to promote the passage of Issue 1 that will take away voting rights that citizens have held for the past 111 years.

Out-of-State Billionaire Activist to help fund Issue 1

Further undermining LaRose’s claims about Issue 1 providing protections against “special interests and out-of-state activists” is information released by the Columbus Dispatch.

The newspaper disclosed that an out-of-state (Illinois) billionaire activist, Richard Uihlein, gave $1 million to a PAC to help fund the campaign for Issue 1 to supposedly protect Ohio citizens from “out-of-state activists”(like Richard Uihlein)

Strong Opposition to Issue 1

And there is strong opposition to Issue 1 as over 250+ organizations around the state have organized and are working to defeat this proposed new law. Four (4) of Ohio’s past governors have voiced strong opposition and five (5) of the state’s past Attorney Generals have spoken out against Issue 1.

The opposition against Issue 1 accelerated when citizens learned that the Politicians supporting this ballot issue were doing so, not to protect the Ohio Constitution, but instead to protect the Unconstitutional, gerrymandered election districts that they put in place to insure that they continue to get elected with minimal opposition.

Politicians supporting Issue 1 have purposefully placed it on the August 8, 2023 election so that if successful, it would be almost impossible to pass citizen-led ballot issues planned for November 2023 and beyond that include regaining back abortion rights and ending gerrymandered election districts.

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