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Published: Friday, 12/31/2004

Taft signs bill altering campaign finance law


COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft yesterday signed into law a bill requiring public disclosure of money raised and spent to influence elections while quadrupling from $2,500 to $10,000 the amount that candidates can accept from individuals each election cycle.

The bill was the product of the first special session called by an Ohio governor in 28 years.

The governor previously had been criticized for helping raise money in 2000 for such a secret account, an anonymously financed ad campaign by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce that unsuccessfully targeted state Supreme Court Justice Alice Robie Resnick, an Ottawa Hills Democrat.

Later, he embraced the concept of requiring such groups to publicly disclose their activities.

Based on a bill sponsored by Sen. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) that passed the Senate, the measure gathered new life in the wake of campaign fund-raising scandals that plagued Republican Treasurer Joe Deters, House Speaker Larry Householder (R., Glenford), and Sen. Jeff Jacobson (R., Vandalia).

The bill passed almost exclusively with Republican support after Democrats balked over the raising of the contribution limits and restrictions placed on the use of labor money in elections.

The bill limits how much county political parties may give candidates to $10,000 per county party. A state candidate could accept no more than a total of $250,000 from multiple counties. It also would prohibit the use of corporate or labor cash to buy ads supporting or criticizing a candidate within 30 days of an election.

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