A record $5.2 million fine was levied this afternoon by the Ohio Elections Commission against a pro-charter-school group that helped elect Republicans across Ohio in 2006.
The whopping fine fell on All Children Matter, a Michigan-based political action committee that took and spent some $870,000 in illegal campaign contributions funneled through Virginia, which has no limits on such money. David Brennan, Ohio’s biggest charter-school operator, has donated $200,000 to the group.
The bipartisan Elections Commission, with a 5-0 vote, agreed with the secretary of state’s argument that All Children Matter violated Ohio campaign finance limits – which at the time said a PAC registered in Ohio could accept only $10,000 from a single entity.
Dick & Betsy were busy buying Ohio when the long arm of the law reached out and touched them.
All Children Matter in 2006 spread money out to a number of Ohio Republican statewide and legislative candidates, both though individual donations — such as $10,000 each to Speaker Jon Husted and gubernatorial candidate J. Kenneth Blackwell — and campaign advertising for candidates including Rep. Kevin Bacon, R-Minerva Park, and Sen. David Goodman, R-New Albany.
By raising its money in Virginia and transferring it to Ohio, the secretary of state’s office said the group essentially was laundering campaign money through a state with far looser restrictions.
The PAC will appeal. Naturally. They need the money to run off and buy more folks somewhere else.