Anyone running for public office must always be prepared to answer for their campaign finances, which will be closely scrutinized for transparency. Keeping full and accurate records of each contribution ensures some degree of integrity, but it is not always enough. To further bolster accountability, the General Assembly recently passed House Bill 326, prioritizing responsible campaign finance in Ohio politics.

State officials are blessed with free speech rights like all Americans, but they also have the legal and ethical duty to keep their political activism separate from their government job. Thus, HB 326 prohibits any person from using public funds to benefit a campaign, political action committee, political party, committee or candidate. Essentially, HB 326 prevents the hard earned tax dollars of Ohio citizens from being funneled illegally into campaigns.

Since state employees receive their salary from tax dollars, the law also bans any employee on “state time” from working on campaign related activities. Because taxpayers should never subsidize a candidate’s run for office, violation of the law is now elevated to a first-degree misdemeanor. Having tougher campaign finance laws on the books keeps electoral politics rightfully separate from government, as it was intended.

I am proud to have cosponsored this bill as another way to protect the public interest from exploitation. As a taxpayer myself, I know that taxes are high enough already. It is reassuring to know that this revenue is being used for public benefit, and not the personal gain of politicians. The 129th General Assembly is committed to improving government, and this measure is just one of the many ways we have acted to do so.

When Governor Kasich signed House Bill 326 into law this June, Ohio took a significant step forward in stamping out campaign corruption. Both parties supported HB 326 because we all agree that taxpayer dollars must be safeguarded. Because public funds finance all government operations, we have the duty to use those funds most effectively, and to ensure that campaigns are 100 percent privately financed. I have no doubt that this law will benefit Ohio’s elections in November and in our future elections.


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