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Corporate Columbus Backs Organized Opposition To Ward Ballot Issue

Jul 23, 2016

Campaign finance reports show Columbus' corporate community is heavily backing the organized opposition to the August ballot issue expanding the size of Columbus City Council.

OneColumbus, the opposition group organized by council members and Mayor Andy Ginther, has a better than 3-1 money advantage over Represent Columbus, the bi-partisan group behind the ballot issue. OneColumbus raised nearly 318 thousand dollars and has more than 462 thousand on hand. Those contributions come primarily from heavy corporate hitters such as Nationwide Insurance, Wolfe Enterprises, Huntington National Bank and American Electric Power. It also comes from developers, organized labor, law firms and builders. Many of these organizations have had legislation before council or otherwise conduct business with city government. Represent Columbus has received less than 100 thousand dollars in contributions and has less than 15 hundred dollars on hand. The bulk of the money comes from the non profit development corporation called the Columbus Compact. The organization's director is Jonathan Beard, who also is co-founder of Represent Columbus. Filings indicate Represent Columbus received no contributions from the Franklin County Republican Party, which has endorsed the ballot measure. Represent Columbus also received in-kind donations from a Colorado-based super PAC called Democracy Win, headed by Democratic political consultant Aaron Cohen. Issue 1 on the August 2nd ballot would expand council from seven members elected at-large to 13 members, 10 of whom would be elected from wards.