Never let a political campaign serve as a fact-checker, especially one that lacks any transparency about who is funding it.

And especially when it apparently is so laughably wrong because what they claim is “truth” about a piece of legislation is refuted… by the same organization responsible for drafting the legislation at issue.

Today, the Ohio Ballot Board accepted the official arguments for/against the issues on the Statewide ballot.  For the most part, the Ballot Board has no control over the arguments.  So Jason Mauk, the spokesman for the “Building a Better Ohio” campaign rushed a press release claiming that the “We Are Ohio” campaign’s arguments were so full of lies he couldn’t list them all and what an outrage that SB 5 opponents could force taxpayers to fund such “lies.”

Mauk actually claimed that there were so many lies in the “We Are Ohio” statement, he could only highlight the worse of the worse.  The Conserva-Tweets were quick to parrot Mauk’s press release verbatim and uncritically.  The only problem is that it was Mauk who lied.

First, let’s start with one of the largest “whoppers” of Mauk’s press release:

“The Ohio Ballot Board even took the extra step of adding a disclaimer due to concerns about the accuracy of the campaign’s submitted argument.”

Here’s what the renowned friend of labor and SB 5 opponent the Columbus Dispatch reported about the disclaimer:

The board, at the request of Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, agreed to add a disclaimer to all arguments that the board has not validated any claims made. (emphasis added.)

In other words, the Building a Better Ohio also is getting this “extra step” disclaimer.  It is totally false that the Ohio Ballot Board added a disclaimer specifically because of the “We Are Ohio” campaign.  Other media reports confirm… there was nothing about  We Are Ohio’s statement that triggered the decision to have a disclaimer.

But then it gets worse:

We Are Ohio Ballot Argument:

  • Issue 2 puts all our families’ safety at risk – making it harder for emergency responders, police and firefighters to negotiate for critical safety equipment and training that protects us all.


  • Counter to blatant misinformation being spread by police and fire unions, state lawmakers took extra steps to clarify in the legislation that “equipment issues directly related to personal safety are subject to collective bargaining.” (ORC 4117.08(F))

While it’s true that SB 5 was eventually amended (at the F.O.P.’s urging even though supposedly nobody who opposed SB 5 offered any amendments) to remove language that would deny public safety unions to bargain for safety equipment, conservative State Senator Tim Grendell argued at the time, collective bargaining is turned in to “collective begging” as SB 5 removes the ability of labor disputes being resolved by a neutral third-party like an arbitrator and instead allows the government (i.e.-employer) to decide on disputes.  Guaranteeing that management always win = making it harder for emergency responders, police, and firefighters to negotiate.

Also, note that Building a Better Ohio didn’t even address the training issue.  That’s because SB 5 totally makes it impossible for public safety forces to bargain regarding training.

We Are Ohio Ballot Argument:

  • Issue 2 … makes it illegal for nurses, hospital and clinic workers to demand reasonable safe staffing levels – so nurses will juggle more patients while their salaries and benefits are cut.


  • Issue 2 allows government employees to “bargain collectively with their public employers to determine wages, hours, terms and other conditions of employment and the continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing provision of a collective bargaining agreement, and enter into collective bargaining agreements.” (ORC 4117.03(A)(4))
  • Issue 2 does not cut salaries or benefits.

The Legislative Service Commission is a non-partisan office of the General Assembly.  They actually draft legislation at the direction of legislators and provide analysis of the bills (which they are knowledgeable about because, again, they drafted it.)

Here’s what the LSC’s final analysis of SB 5 says on page 17 is a subject Senate Bill 5 renders as inappropriate for a collective bargain agreement (i.e.-it’s verboten):

“The number of employees required to be on duty or employed in any
department, division, or facility of a public employer.”

LSC also notes that SB 5:

“Removes continuation, modification, or deletion of an existing collective bargaining agreement from the subject of collective bargaining.”

So Mauk is wrong and wronger.

SB 5 also prohibits employees to bargain for health insurance benefits beyond how much they pay (with a floor of 15% employee contribution.)  I’d argue pension pickups is a benefit… which Issue 2 bans.  If Issue 2 won’t cut salaries and benefits, then where does its promised savings come from?  Mauk is lying.

We Are Ohio Ballot Argument:

  • It’s not Ohio values to let firefighters, police and teachers lose their rights and see wages and benefits gutted, while insiders, politicians and people at the top sacrifice nothing.


  • Issue 2 does nothing to “gut” wages and benefits.  It simply and fairly asks government employees to pay at least 15 percent of their taxpayer-funded health care premium and to make a 10 percent personal contribution toward their generous taxpayer-funded pension benefit.  Salary scales are not set by Issue 2, although automatic pay raises would be eliminated in favor of rewarding employees based, in part, on performance.

Again, there can be no savings in this bill without a change in benefits and salaries.  The rest is a classic non sequitur  response.   Again, according to the non-partisan LSC’s final analysis on SB 5 (Issue 2) on pages 11-14, the bill totally eliminates the right of some firefighters, law enforcement officers, teachers, and professors from the collective bargaining at all who can engage in collective bargaining under the current law. 

Kasich’s budget does not call on elected officials or the top people in his Administration to sacrifice anything.  His Cabinet officials can freely continue to engage in “double dipping” under Issue 2.  It is totally fair and accurate to point out that Kasich’s agenda calls on “sacrifices” by firefighters, police, and teachers while he has not called for sacrifices from the top of his organization chart and his Rolodex.  Kasich’s budget gave tax cuts to the top economic earners, no tax cuts to the middle class or the working class, but slashed government programs they rely on like public education.

Mauk is an unrepentant liar.  He’s on leave to work on the campaign from his State job as Communication Director of the Senate Republican Caucus (name a private employer who will grant a leave of absence and keep your job open to work for a political campaign… how did he get such benefits?).  Mauk was behind the vile smear that SB 5 protestors had defecated and defaced the Statehouse during protests, which turned out to be the likely act of a homeless person in the former and the act of chalk in the latter.


Mauk can’t tell the truth about Issue 2 because that’s not what he paid to do.

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  • Anonymous

    All police officers at the rank of sergeant and above will suddenly not be allowed union representation too if SB5 wins. Thats a lot of cops on bigger departments, sometimes as much as a quarter of the force. SB5 equates them to “management” even though a good deal of them are out there doing the exact same job as the average patrolman. Same thing for firefighters, a load of the supervisors are out there fighting fires and working ambulances, just like the regular rank and file guys.

  • Anonymous

    I find it gratifying that Mr. Mauk is holding out the olive branch in such a genuinely conciliatorily attempt to persuade.  Can’t you just feel the love in his message? I’m sure this is going to win the hearts and minds of so many patriotic conservatives who have worked so hard to get that “vacation home” on Catawba. 
    Ok, maybe I really don’t think that his propaganda is in any way an olive branch, perhaps I am not totally convinced that he is genuinely interested in conciliation and the statement about love in his message is complete crap and I know it. The vacation home in Catawba is, unfortunately, not a figment of my fertile imagination.
    A short time ago my wife and I volunteered to man the county Democratic booth at the fair.  The Republican booth was on the other side of the building and four or so men were over there sitting around in their burgundy golf shirts and khaki pants joking and enjoying their own company, as you might expect to see at the country club.  I wore a long sleeved shirt, tie and business slacks (I am not going to embarrass the Democrats by looking like I just walked in from a round of polo for an afternoon martini), and we were told by the chairperson when we got there that it would be generally quiet with not much interest in the issues, so we should not have much to do.  My wife has taught school in this community for 39 years and I knew that in a 3 hour shift we would be constantly engaged with someone (she taught most of the people in the town their A-B-Cs) and I was not surprised to find that neither of us had a dull moment for the 3 or so hours we were there.  Shortly before closing the booth at 9 PM a group from the Gang Of Pirates walked by and my wife, not knowing who they were, extended her hand and informed one of them that she was there to represent “We Are Ohio”.  He informed her in an unceremonious manner that he was Ohio too, and that we had a big hole in the budget and who was going to fill it, etc., etc., etc. She replied that the middle class didn’t cause the hole, only to be assailed with the standard republican counter: “that is the trouble with you people, you always interrupt, you don’t want to debate.”  I have to say that this will probably not surprise you that he was unhappy about having to touch the hand of a middle class teacher who clearly did not agree with his political philosophy, but what may shock you is the fact that he is a sitting judge.  I will conclude by saying that I would have expected more civility and show of good manners from someone fortunate enough to be elevated to his lofty position by the votes of middle class workers. Of course I could be wrong; it may not have been the middle class voters who placed him in that station in life.

  • LovingmyOhio

    And Building a “Better” Ohio will continue to lie about lying…then its representatives will lie about that as we march closer to the “big day”.  I am hoping the citizens of this state really educate themselves about this legislation before casting each vote.  And we need to open our eyes to the bigger picture here.  This legislation has nothing to do with our state fiscal budget/deficiet.  It’s part of an agenda of national proportions.  We need to say no to this legislation…not just for the future of our state, but to send a message to these corporation-based national organizations who are trying to force-feed us legislation that only benefits them.

  • LovingmyOhio

    Oops…typo.  Deficit.

  • Anonymous

    Was this the State Fair?  I’m interested because the Delaware County Fair is coming up soon and we always have a big booth and lots of people stop by.  It’s good to be prepared for some of the poo that may get flung our way.

  • The general public has to listen. We the public sector employees are not here to lie. For us to lie will not help us. As a teacher I teach my students not to lie but I also teach them to be fully informed. When a public employee says that SB5 will take away certain specific rights that are listed as lies by this @$^$&%&^ we will lose them. We know how union bargaining works. We know what we can and can not bargain for now and we know what SB5 will eliminate. We know because we have read it multiple times, we have studied it, and we have had lawyers look into it. We are not so stupid to say what is not true. If it would not hurt your child, your safety, or your care, and would not hurt our ability to FAIRLY negotiate specific wages, benefits, and safety concerns, which I think I can say we all feel EVERYONE should have the right to do we would not be against SB5. If you feel you are not getting what you deserve at your job you have the right to help bring in a union who will with the backing of fellow employees fight for your rights for these things to. Who do you think they will be after once  they have “broken the backs” of public employee unions? And after they have destroyed all the unions who will fight for you? Not your employer. Not your fellow worker who is having his own problems and wants to keep his job and will not lose it for you. We have to be truthful to preserve our right to have unions who can work for the employees rights. Because without them Who?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the response and good ideas.

  • Thanks Modern.

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