Pressure Mounts for Ohio Speaker to Block Foreign Election Funds

A coalition of election integrity groups is urging Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens to advance legislation aimed at preventing foreign financial influence in ballot measures.

“Ohioans deserve elections that are free and fair—not influenced by foreign billionaires bankrolling left-wing causes at the expense of American citizens,” stated Catherine Gunsalus, Heritage Action’s Director of State Advocacy.

The Republican-controlled Ohio Senate recently passed an amended version of House Bill 114 to secure President Joe Biden’s appearance on the 2024 general election ballot in Ohio. The Secretary of State’s office alerted the state Democratic Party chair, Liz Walters, of a discrepancy with the Democratic National Convention’s timing.

The Democratic National Committee must either change its convention date or Ohio lawmakers must enact legislation by May 9th to rectify this issue.

Senate Republicans added provisions to HB 114 barring foreign nationals from contributing funds to Ohio ballot measures.

Hansjörg Wyss, a Swiss national who funnels millions to Democrat groups, would be prohibited from making such expenditures.

Despite unanimous support from Senate Republicans and all Democrats voting against it, HB 114 met resistance in the House.

Speaker Jason Stephens, a Republican aided by House Democrats, refused to allow debate on the measure, citing lack of support.

On Wednesday, the House “informally passed” Senate Bill 92 extending Ohio’s presidential nominating deadline without addressing foreign funding in ballot measures.

In a statement on Friday, APT Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland criticized Senate Democrats for opposing HB 114.

Honest Elections Project Action Executive Director Jason Snead called on Stephens to prioritize Ohio elections over foreign influence.