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Arlington, VA – The Ohio Senate today passed legislation to prohibit funds from foreign nationals from being directed to state ballot issue campaigns. Under current state and federal law, it is illegal for foreign nationals to donate to political candidates, but ballot issues are not addressed.

Passed yesterday by the House, H.B. 1 achieves the following:

  • Prohibits direct and indirect contributions from foreign nationals;
  • Bans the spending, including independent expenditures, of funds tied to foreign nationals; and
  • Ensures independent investigatory and enforcement power by the Ohio Attorney General.

ETI conducted a grassroots education and outreach campaign to help pass H.B. 1, and on May 29th joined in a coalition letter issued to Speaker Jason Stephens and Senate President Matt Huffman urging their swift approval of a final package addressing these core issues.

National Chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative and former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued the following statement:

“We praise the General Assembly and the bill’s champions for protecting the integrity of Ohio’s elections and confronting this corruption once and for all. Make no mistake, foreign billionaires should never be given the ability to buy our elections and undermine voters to affect changes to Ohio’s constitution. We thank our coalition partners as well as the governor for calling a special session, and urge him to sign this bill into law without delay.”

Last week Governor DeWine announced he was convening a special session requesting that lawmakers immediately pass a bill banning foreign funds from Ohio’s elections. In recent years a liberal special interest organization known as The Sixteen Thirty Fund exploited the loophole in state law allowing them to funnel millions into the state’s elections, including nearly $15 million in 2023 over an eight-month period. Sixteen Thirty Fund credits Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss as a top donor.

The Election Transparency Initiative, a partnership between the American Principles Project (APP) and Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America, was organized to combat federal H.R. 1 and H.R. 4 legislation and advocate for state-based election reforms that voters can trust.