Ohio has struggled to care for vulnerable seniors, and it’s getting worse. The state’s probate courts are responsible for creating and monitoring guardianships of the frail elderly, balancing freedom and protection. They are already strained. And yet, between 2010 and 2030, the number of Ohioans over 65 is projected to rise by half, from 1.6 million to 2.4 million. Over the next seven years the number of Alzheimer’s patients in the state is projected to rise by 13.6 percent.
On Tuesday, a panel of top researchers, policy experts, and legal minds discussed lessons learned from the 2018 election and how groups- both liberal and conservative- have gotten better at hiding the source of campaign messages. (See video below.)
PANEL 1: Following dark money trail through 2020
Michael Beckel, Issue One, Manager of Research, Investigations and Policy AnalysisBio: Michael’s latest project, “Dark Money Illuminated” revealed that 75% of dark money spending since Citizens United came from just 15 dark money groups. Before joining Issue One in March 2017, Michael spent roughly a decade as an award-winning journalist following the money in politics, including stints at the Center for Public Integrity and Center for Responsive Politics. Anna Massoglia, The Center for Responsive Politics, Nonprofits and FARA ResearcherBio: Anna researches foreign influence and dark money in politics for the Center for Responsive Politics, working on the OpenSecrets’ Foreign Lobby Watch project, dark money database and FCC political advertising database. Anna holds a J.D. from the University of the District of Columbia and worked previously at Bloomberg BNA.
Ahead of the election this week, Eye on Ohio took a quick look at how major issues could sway voters still on the fence. “Even though the election is Tuesday, there are still a lot of undecided voters. We are fairly certain that Democrat Sherrod Brown will win the U.S. Senate race in Ohio, but most of the races (e.g., the governor’s race and the down-ballot races) are toss-ups,” said Dr. Lauren Copeland, Associate Director of the Community Research Institute at Baldwin Wallace University, who has used survey data in her research since 2009. “The outcome of the gubernatorial race will hinge on turnout and how late deciders break. If history is any guide, Cordray might be able to ride Brown’s coattails to the finish line because the same party tends to win the subernatorial and the senate races.” But Copeland cautioned against accepting polls as the whole picture.
After her son couldn’t qualify for a local Head Start program because of the family’s annual income, Lynsi McKinney needed new options. McKinney, a stay-at-home mom in Southeast Ohio, eventually connected with a private, Christian school for 4 and 5-year-olds. But the family felt squeezed by the hefty price tag. “If money wasn’t an issue, we would continue sending him to a private Christian school,” McKinney said. “We fell in love with the educational opportunities and with the Christian background.”
By the end of the first year, she was impressed by the progress her son was making — he was able to recognize every letter in the alphabet and had basic counting and geography skills.
A look at the 12 groups who haven’t disclosed their donors in state elections; The 501(c)(4) with no trace
The identities of many political donors can no longer be hidden behind a nonprofit shield, a D.C. Circuit judge recently ruled, in a case that started in Ohio. The Supreme Court’s decision not to issue an emergency stay on that ruling sent election groups around the country scrambling to comply with new disclosure rules just weeks before Nov. 6. After Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown faced a $6 million attack campaign funded by anonymous donors in 2012, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington complained to the FEC that Crossroads GPS, an major conservative nonprofit, should have to disclose their donors. When the FEC dismissed their complaint, they sued in 2016.
Ohio ratepayers have paid FirstEnergy’s utilities roughly a quarter of a billion dollars since January 2017 under a distribution modernization rider. Now, critics say FirstEnergy is stalling on saying just what it’s doing with that money, which regulators approved without any requirements that it pay for specific projects. The mandate for consumers to pay the rider is currently on appeal before the Supreme Court of Ohio. Meanwhile, FirstEnergy’s utilities have been collecting the $168 million per year, and regulators could renew the charge for another two years after 2019. “To date, FirstEnergy has stymied the efforts of the state-designated advocate of its consumers to discover information about its subsidy charges,” Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Bruce Weston and assistant counsel Zachary Woltz said in a July 13 brief.
An Eye On Ohio review of public records for the past 10 years, however, found a strong correlation between the amount of campaign contributions and the revenue received by law firms doing collection work for the attorney general’s office.