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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 10, 2021
CONTACT: Madeline Stocker
Former State Rep. calls for independent survey on campaign finance reform
COLUMBUS, OH – In a public testimony before City Council tonight, former State Representative Marian Harris will call on Council members to partner with an independent organization survey the public on campaign finance limits.
“I don’t believe anyone outside of City Hall believes $12,707.79 is a reasonable limit,” Harris said in a statement Monday afternoon. “It’s critical we as a city take the time to get this right. That only happens if voters get a real chance to weigh in.”
Harris said she believes the survey should be unbiased, and that Council members should not be the ones designing or implementing the survey.
After public pressure from organizers calling for lower limits, City Council announced last night that they plan to table the vote on Mayor Ginther’s proposed $12,707.79 contribution limit until mid-January. Harris is one of many Columbus residents calling on Council take the time to gather public input via an independent survey.
“Our message is clear — we want voters to be the ones who decide this limit, and we want the process to be as fair and transparent as possible,” said Nicole Butler, chair of Yes We Can’s campaign finance working group.
Yes We Can circulated a survey early last week asking residents what campaign contribution limit they believe is right for Columbus. Out of over 200 respondents, 95% said they’d like to see a limit between $250 and $3,000.
“This is the only measure we have of what Columbus residents actually want,” Butler said. “As of now, we have no reason to believe that the majority of Columbus voters would support a limit over $3,000.”
Harris and Butler’s testimonies come as a second round of public opposition to the proposed $12,707.79 limit. At a public hearing on the proposal last Tuesday, multiple speakers spoke out against the proposed limit, detailing why they believed it was too high for Columbus. No one spoke in favor of the limit.
“We want a local government works for all of us — not just the wealthy few,” said Stephen David, a social worker who will testify at tonight’s Council meeting. “No more smoke and mirrors. It’s time for a donation limit that will rein in the influence of big money in Columbus elections.”
Yes We Can stands for getting big money out of City Hall, building stronger schools, and putting working families’ interests ahead of wealthy developers and corporate donors. We love our city and we want all of us to have a say in the decisions that impact our lives. We want a Columbus where we can all have good jobs with benefits, affordable housing, and feel safe from crime and discrimination.