As election day gets closer, the campaign for and against Ohio's Issue 2 continues to heat up.
And a recent report on who is financing both sides of the campaign show that money is now flowing in from out of state interests.
The special report was put together by www.truth-out.org, and according to experts they interviewed upwards of $40-million could be spent by both sides of the issue by election day...a number that would rival what was spent in the gubernatorial campaign that swept Governor John Kasich into office last year.
According to the report, national unions have so far contributed nearly $4-million to "We Are Ohio"...which is labor's biggest effort for a "no" vote on Issue two, which would in turn repeal the controversial Senate Bill 5 that was passed back in March. The national office of the AFL-CIO alone has tossed $1.5-million at the repeal effort.
But as the report points out...finding out what out-of-state interests have contributed to the "yes" on Issue 2 effort, primarily driven by the "Building a Better Ohio" group, is a bit more difficult.
Building a Better Ohio has said that they will disclose their donors by the end of the month...but will not disclose donation amounts.
By Ohio law, private companies must report direct contributions to political groups...and so far five Ohio businesses have reported giving a total of $235,000 to Building a Better Ohio.
But out of state money from corporations are harder to track ever since the Supreme Court ruled back in 2010 that corporations and unions could make unlimited contributions to Political Action Committees, or "PACs" as they are more commonly called.
The report alleges that money can be funneled from a corporation into a PAC...and then that PAC can then contribute or "forward" the money into specific efforts like Building a Better Ohio.
So far, We Are Ohio has spent $5.4-million on ads aimed at the "No on 2" effort...while Building a Better Ohio and Make Ohio Great, another "Yes on 2" group, have spent $2.8-million and $1.2-million respectively.
And as election day gets closer...even bigger amounts are expected to be spent by both sides.
Are you surprised at the amount of money that is streaming into Ohio on both sides of Issue 2? Do we need to take a closer look at how to keep outside interests from influencing in-state issues? Or should we simply open the gates and let the money fall where it may? Could the outside money swing Issue 2 in either direction unfairly? We want your thoughts.