Four days ago, a new “independent” expenditure group was formed called “One Ohio United.” Right now, it’s primary focus appears to be promoting Kasich’s “Jobs” Budget as this television ad shows (note: we have not confirmed this ad is actually airing anywhere, yet)
The organization is headed by a “Mike Morris.” Given that the other two names associated with it is the ScottsMiracle-Gro CEO Jim Hagadorn and the other is the Samuel Miller, Co-Chairman of the Board of Forest City Enterprises, we are presuming that Mike Morris is actually Michael G. Morris, Chairman and CEO of American Electric Power (AEP.) Who also just happens to be the Chair of the non-partisan organization of Ohio-based CEOs known as the Ohio Business Roundtable, an organization that supported Governor Strickland’s education reform (that Kasich has completely undone with no actual replacement.)
It would make sense that such a majorly corporate-backed group would be able to open a social media presence while airing its first television ad so soon after forming.
What’s interesting about it is that it’s filed as a 501(c)(4) organization with the IRS as opposed to a political action committee with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. The election of being 501(c)(4) organization is, of course, to hide who is funding their speech, which the organization proudly disclaims:
There are no limits on the amounts that may be contributed to One Ohio United, Inc. by an individual, corporation, union, or trade association. Names, addresses and amounts contributed by donors that contribute $5,000 or more will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) on IRS Form 990 as required by law; however, the IRS does not make the names and addresses of donors public.
One Ohio United, Inc. is not required to disclose its donors to the general public.
Contributions to One Ohio United, Inc. do not count against an individual’s biennial aggregate contribution limit under the Federal Election Campaign Act, as amended.
Yes, it actually markets itself as a means to frustrate campaign finance laws.
The participation of an AEP executive and ScottsMiracle-Gro in an organization that seems to be primarily designed to promote Governor Kasich’s budget is somewhat ironic. AEP dropped out of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce in protest of the Chamber’s endorsement of Kasich in the gubernatorial race last year.
And then as far as ScottsMiracle-Gro’s CEO there’s this:
Is this new organization nothing more than a multi-million dollar corporate executive funded mea culpa to Governor Kasich?