Ahead of Expected Vote to Eliminate Citizen-Led Ballot Initiatives in Ohio, Will Republicans Let an Out-of-State Billionaire Buy Ohio’s Constitution?
May 9, 2023
Columbus, OH – Tomorrow, the Ohio House of Representatives is set to vote on a measure that would effectively eliminate citizen-led ballot initiatives in Ohio. The time has come for Ohio Republicans to decide if they’re going to let an out-of-state billionaire buy Ohio’s Constitution or stand up for working Ohioans.
“Republican politicians in the House have a choice to make: are they going to side with Ohio voters or an out-of-state, out-of-touch billionaire? Ohio’s Constitution belongs to the people of Ohio, not the highest bidder. It’s time for Republicans to do the right thing and kill this bill,” said Matt Keyes, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party.
As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, billionaire Richard Uihlein is bankrolling the Super PAC working to effectively end citizen-led ballot initiatives in Ohio. Uihlein has a long history of donating millions to conservative causes and attempting to buy elections.
Here’s what you should know about Uihlein:
- Uihlein is an Illinois-based billionaire and “one of the GOP’s biggest mega donors.” who has funneled millions to out-of-touch political causes and candidates.
- Uihlein has repeatedly used his fortune to try to buy elections. In 2016 alone, Uihlein and his wife Elizabeth spent nearly $24 million on candidates, PACs and parties across the country.
Read more about Richard Uihlein in the Columbus Dispatch HERE and below:
- A conservative megadonor is funneling more than $1 million into Ohio to persuade House Republicans to vote on a measure that would make it harder to amend the state constitution.
- Richard Uihlein gave roughly $1.1 million this month to the newly formed Save Our Constitution PAC, which is urging lawmakers to set an August election for Ohio voters to decide on the proposed amendment. The measure, if approved, would require 60% of the vote to enact new constitutional amendments, instead of a simple majority.
- Save Our Constitution PAC has already been running radio ads against Stephens and Rep. Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville, in southern Ohio. But the group is ramping up its efforts with texting, digital and television ads targeted at Stephens and other key House Republicans.
- Uihlein is the PAC’s sole benefactor. The Illinois billionaire and his wife, Elizabeth, are major Republican donors and spent roughly $54 million during the 2022 election cycle. Richard Uihlein donated to several Ohio GOP congressional candidates and gave millions to the anti-tax group Club for Growth, which backed Josh Mandel’s 2022 U.S. Senate campaign.
- Proponents of the resolution are pushing for an August election to get ahead of a November ballot question that would enshrine abortion access in Ohio. The proposed amendment would also require petitioners to gather signatures of support from all 88 counties, instead of 44, and eliminate a 10-day period for them to replace invalid signatures.
- Critics say the plan would take power away from citizens and make the process so onerous that only well-funded outside groups could get something on the ballot. Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters’ of Ohio, said it’s hypocritical for the resolution’s backers to use out-of-state funders to fight their cause.
- “Ohio’s constitution is not for sale to out-of-state billionaires,” Miller said. “The Ohio General Assembly must reject this undemocratic and unfair attack on citizens’ abilities to amend the constitution. There’s nothing good government about this.”