Labor Unions Helped Incumbents in Ohio GOP Primaries

Union bosses helped prop up Republican incumbents in contested Ohio House and Ohio Senate primaries this spring, new campaign finance filings with the secretary of state confirm.

As Media Trackers reported before the May 6 election, the Ohio Republican Party (ORP) spent money to convince voters of its candidates’ conservative principles while ORP candidates received money from some of the state’s most powerful leftist groups.

Unions are consistently the top donors to Ohio Democrats – but when it comes to promoting bigger government and smearing pro-worker reforms, Big Labor is willing to fund sympathetic Republicans.

Frank LaRose, 27th Ohio Senate District

Sen. LaRose received 10 contributions of $2,500 or more during the post-primary reporting period. Of those 10 contributions, 4 came from labor unions.

LaRose received the following union contributions during the latest reporting period, in addition to $11,000 in union contributions he reported before the primary:

  • $5,000 from Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Local 33
  • $5,000 from Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA) District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from Indiana/Kentucky/Ohio Regional Council of Carpenters

While union bosses were filling LaRose’s campaign coffers, ORP and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee were spending an additional $136,689 promoting LaRose and attacking conservative challenger Caleb Davenport.

Sen. LaRose has now reported a total of $28,000 in union contributions this year.

Scott Oelslager, 29th Ohio Senate District

The 2 largest donations Sen. Oelslager received during the post-primary reporting period came from labor unions. Of the 4 contributions Oelslager reported that were $2,500 or greater, 3 came from unions.

Sen. Oelslager received the following donations from labor unions, in addition to the $28,156 unions donated to his campaign during the pre-primary reporting period:

  • $4,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from IUOE Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 4, Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE)
  • $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters
  • $750 from Ohio Nurses Association

Including these contributions, Sen. Oelslager has received a total of $40,906 from labor unions this year.

ORP spent $7,564 on in-kind support for Oelslager — who was challenged by Dennis Harbert for the Republican nomination in the Ohio Senate District 29 race — during the post-primary reporting period.

Kevin Bacon, 3rd Ohio Senate District

Of the 4 contributions of $2,500 or greater Sen. Bacon received during the post-primary reporting period, 3 came from labor unions.

Bacon reported no union contributions during the pre-primary campaign finance period, but has since received:

  • $4,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio
  • $3,500 from IUOE Local 18
  • $2,500 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters

During the post-primary period, ORP and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee spent $67,667 on in-kind support to help propel Sen. Bacon past Republican challenger Kevin Solveson.

Anne Gonzales, 19th Ohio House District

The largest contribution to Rep. Gonzales during the post-primary reporting period came from IUOE Local 18.

  • $3,000 from IUOE Local 18
  • $1,000 from Ohio Iron Workers Association
  • $1,000 from LiUNA District Council of Ohio

Gonzales was challenged by Meta Hahn for the Republican nomination in the Ohio House District 19 primary.

Barbara Sears, 47th Ohio House District

The second-largest contribution Rep. Sears reported during the post-primary period came from IUOE Local 18.

  • $3,000 from IUOE Local 18
  • $1,000 from International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 20

Sears was challenged by Scott Allegrini for the Republican nomination in the Ohio House District 47 primary.

Union bosses gave generously to Sen. Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) during the post-primary period; SMWIA Local 33, LiUNA District Council of Ohio, IUOE Local 18, and Ohio Iron Workers Association were Manning’s top 4 donors, contributing a combined total of $15,500.

Sen. Manning received $1,000 from IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters and $250 from LiUNA Local 758, as well.

Sen. Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) also received thousands from labor unions during the latest campaign finance period.

LiUNA District Council of Ohio and IUOE Local 18 were Sen. Beagle’s top donors, giving $4,000 and $3,500, respectively. Ohio Iron Workers Association gave Beagle $2,500, and IN/KY/OH Regional Council of Carpenters gave $1,000.

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John Kasich Has Put Nearly 250,000 Ohioans on Medicaid

A total of 243,230 Ohioans have already been added to the state’s Medicaid rolls under the Obamacare expansion implemented by Republican Governor John Kasich this January.

Based on the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s May caseload report released this week, enrollment under the expansion was 232,711 in April — not the 184,671 reported last month.

The March enrollment figure was also revised dramatically upward this week, to 208,213 from the 171,910 reported last month. In April, the Ohio Department of Medicaid estimated that March enrollment for those eligible under Obamacare was 106,238.

State caseload reports each month note that recent figures “include estimates of retroactive/backdated enrollment and are subject to minor change from month-to-month.”

“The Group VIII [Obamacare expansion] numbers do not include such estimates as no historical pattern of retroactive enrollment exists as of yet, therefore, numbers for this newly eligible group will change from month‐to‐month,” an Ohio Department of Medicaid disclaimer explains.

State figures show that after just five months, Medicaid enrollment under Kasich’s Obamacare expansion already exceeds two thirds of the 366,000 the Kasich Administration projected would enroll by July 2015.

OHT-medicaid-expansion-enrollment-2013-02

The Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which the Kasich Administration enacted last fall, made all Ohioans with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line eligible for the entitlement program. Gov. Kasich expanded Medicaid over opposition from the Ohio General Assembly.

Long before Kasich unilaterally enacted the Obamacare expansion, the left-leaning Urban Institute estimated that 90 percent of Ohioans eligible under the Obamacare expansion would be able-bodied childless adults of working age.

Even Kasich’s own Office of Health Transformation acknowledged that more than 1 in 4 Obamacare Medicaid expansion enrollees — 96,000, by the administration’s calculation — would be pushed from private health insurance into Medicaid.

Concurrent with Gov. Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid to working-age Ohioans without children or physical disabilities, Ohio’s labor force has continued a years-long descent.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 5,958,676 Ohioans in the labor force in January 2007; by the time Kasich took office in January 2011, Ohio’s labor forced had dropped to 5,805,865.

This January, there were 5,763,128 Ohioans in the labor force. That number increased by 2,363 in February, only to drop by 10,660 in March.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated in a February release that “expanded Medicaid eligibility under [Obamacare] will, on balance, reduce incentives to work,” citing National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) working paper released last summer.

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Ohio grassroots local GOP takeovers

I have been writing for months about the importance of citizen engagement in taking over party infrastructures – namely through central committee. In taking such a public position on this rather controversial topic, I have heard it all… “I’m an independent, the parties are beyond repair.” “The system is rigged.” “They’ll lie, cheat, and steal […]

The Teacher Tax: Union Takes $700/year from Ohio Educators

Teachers in school districts organized by the Ohio Education Association (OEA) are charged $703.33 per year for union membership, and can be forced to pay $688.67 in annual “fair share” fees if they decline to join the union.

Barring a religious exemption, a full-time Ohio teacher with a salary of $35,000 in a district with a fair share fee must choose between finding other employment or paying 2 percent of his or her income to OEA and the National Education Association (NEA).

Local OEA affiliate dues and fees are not included in the $703.33 member dues or the $688.67 fair share fees listed in the graphic above, which is from the April 2014 issue of OEA’s Ohio Schools magazine.

UniServ, an abbreviation for “Unified Staff Service,” is an NEA program “designed to help establish and maintain effective local affiliates by making professional staff available to provide direct support and assistance to local affiliates and the Active members of such affiliates on an on-going basis.”

Fair share fees determined by union bosses can be assessed by unions in Ohio and the 25 other states without worker freedom laws, which protect the right of workers to choose whether to support a labor union. Sometimes referred to as “agency fees,” the idea is that nonmembers covered by union contracts must pay for representation services.

The $688.67 that thousands of Ohio public school teachers are forced to pay is essentially a teacher tax, taken from educators’ paychecks and sent to OEA at taxpayer expense.

OEA collected dues and agency fees totaling $54,896,772 during the fiscal year ending August 31, 2013. The union had 119,818 members and 1,550 agency fee payers.

In OEA’s annual filing with the U.S. Department of Labor, the union reported spending $3,933,053 on “Political Activities and Lobbying,” $5,246,965 on “Union Administration,” and $12,847,032 on “General Overhead.”

Those figures amount to $32.82 per member, $43.79 per member, and $107.22 per member, respectively.

However, according to the calendar year 2013 dues and fees OEA listed in the April 2014 issue of Ohio Schools, the union only spends $14.66 per member on non-representation purposes each year.

Like its national parent, the teachers union is consistently among the top donors to Ohio Democrats and pounds educators with “progressive” propaganda on a near-daily basis.

Regardless of how much value OEA provides to teachers, individuals employed by the union are extremely well compensated. Officers and employees working for OEA’s Columbus headquarters were paid an average of $100,435 last year.

To maintain union bosses’ six-figure salaries, OEA has increased dues as its membership has plummeted. The union had 131,000 members in August 2004.

Despite intense pressure from union bosses, some teachers have complained that OEA takes more from nonmembers than it is legally permitted to. OEA is in the process of settling a class-action complaint brought by more than a dozen current and former Ohio teachers accusing OEA and its affiliates of charging excessive fair share fees.

Meanwhile, OEA and other unions are working feverishly to dull public support for worker freedom by smearing as “confusing, complicated, controversial,” and “unsafe and unfair” the reform that would simply let workers opt out of paying union bosses.

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What Set Up the Cantor Defeat?

If you are a regular reader of my articles, you know I have been beating the drum about the importance of grassroots citizens taking over local party infrastructures in order to win more races. The big news on Tuesday night was “tea party” challenger David Brat’s stunning primary defeat of Republican House Majority Leader, Eric […]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OHIO APPLAUDS OKLAHOMA’S REPEAL!

Press Release – Ohioans Against Common Core

Contact – Heidi Huber info@ohioansagainstcommoncore.com

For Immediate Release

June 5, 2014

Ohioans Against Common Core applaud Oklahoma’s Successful Repeal of the
Common Core Standards

Today, Ohioans leading the fight against Common Core and its federal takeover of Ohio’s education system gained new momentum when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed the strongest repeal bill in the country, having passed overwhelmingly in that state’s House and Senate. “We are thrilled and inspired by what Oklahoma has done. Governor Mary Fallin has heard the people of Oklahoma and taken the appropriate action by signing the Common Core repeal bill. In her role as chair of the National Governors’ Association, Governor Fallin has been a leading advocate of the standards; her reversal speaks loudly and clearly to her state, to our state and to our nation about the appropriate course for those who wish to restore state and local control of education,” said Heidi Huber, the leader of Ohioans Against Common Core.

Ohioans Against Common Core held a rally in the statehouse atrium this past Wednesday to promote repeal of the Common Core Standards via Substitute House Bill 237, introduced by State Representative Andy Thompson ((R-Marietta). Hundreds of Ohioans attended, including parents, grandparents, schoolchildren, school board members, teachers and many other concerned citizens from across the Buckeye State. At the rally, speakers included Rep. Thompson, Representative John Adams (R-Sydney), Huber and Jenni White, leader of Restore Oklahoma Public Education and Oklahoma’s successful repeal effort. White said the nation is watching Ohio: “You have a groundswell of public support in Ohio. We succeeded in Oklahoma, thanks to Governor Fallin’s willingness to do what is right. Ohio is vitally important to our nation; we hope your general assembly and your governor will take similar action to protect Ohio’s children and parents, its teachers and communities from Common Core and its destructive power.”

Representative Thompson stated, “Ohioans have been frustrated at our state’s lack of action on Common Core. Oklahoma’s repeal of Common Core is courageous and hopefully contagious. I call upon my fellow legislators and our governor to reexamine where they stand, and to recognize that our effort is not going away until repeal is a reality.” Representative Adams added, “We need to get our repeal bill, Substitute House Bill 237 onto the floor. Oklahoma’s move is truly inspirational. I want Ohio to join Oklahoma by repealing Common Core. I am pleased to join with Rep. Thompson, Ohioans Against Common Core and everyone who supports the repeal of Common Core and the restoration of state and local control of education. Ohio’s children deserve nothing less.”

OACC Press Release-Printable pdf

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OH News Editor: Kochs Give to UNCF Because They’re Racist

Youngstown Vindicator Managing Editor Mark Sweetwood suggested in a June 6 Twitter post that Charles and David Koch donate millions to United Negro College Fund (UNCF) because they are racists.

“I think they just like saying ‘Negro,’” Sweetwood wrote in a tweet quoting from an Associated Press announcement of the Kochs’ UNCF contribution.

Sweetwood’s comment, made on a personal Twitter account, came in response to news that the Koch brothers have given $25 million “for general support to historically black colleges and universities and the UNCF” as well as scholarships for black students.

The Kochs, who have also donated well over $100 million to cancer research, are reviled by advocates of big government because of their contributions to Americans for Prosperity (AFP) and other right-of-center nonprofits.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), who has previously remarked that President Barack Obama owes his success to the fact that he is “light-skinned,” “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,” is completely obsessed with the Kochs.

In other Twitter updates this week, Sweetwood defended President Obama’s violation of federal law in the release of soldier Bowe Bergdahl and wrote, “I would not patronize any bar or restaurant that allowed concealed carry, let alone open carry.”

Doctrinaire “progressive” thought and an accompanying disdain for all things conservative run deep among Ohio’s legacy press. AFP Ohio, one of few center-right Ohio groups the media bothers to acknowledge, is rarely quoted and often vilified.

Tom Feran, one of the lead “fact-checkers” for the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s defunct PolitiFact Ohio project, has slammed limited-government “yahoos” and “wingnuts” on a personal Twitter account where he also cheered a leftist blog smearing conservatives as racists.

Media Trackers notified PolitiFact Ohio editor Robert Higgs of Feran’s obvious bias in 2012, but Feran continued “fact-checking” for PolitiFact Ohio until its demise last fall. Feran remains a news reporter for Plain Dealer parent company Northeast Ohio Media Group.

Columbus Dispatch Senior Editor Joe Hallett accused opponents of bigger government of being “extreme,” “ultraconservative,” and “bent on society’s regression” prior to his retirement this year.

“Claiming Right to Work is about workplace freedom is like calling a slave owner a job creator,” wrote Plain Dealer editor and Ohio University journalism professor Thomas Suddes in a column last fall. Suddes has bashed critics of Obamacare as “flint-hearted,” “off-the-chart Right,” and “Tea Party yowlers.”

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Ohio Conservatives Thwart New Kasich Medicaid Maneuver

Conservatives in the Ohio House this week blocked a move widely viewed as an attempt by Governor John Kasich to set aside money he could later spend on Medicaid expansion without legislative approval.

The version of House Bill 483 (HB 483) passed by the Ohio Senate included a last-minute change to move as much as $300 million in surplus state revenue to the state Medicaid Reserve Fund.

Legislators feared this was an effort by the Kasich Administration to circumvent the General Assembly for spending on the Obamacare Medicaid expansion when an existing appropriation expires in mid-2015.

As a result, on June 4 the House held up HB 483 — one of several large “mid-biennium review” bills favored by Gov. Kasich — until the Senate approved an amendment to House Bill 486 dictating that “no money shall be appropriated or transferred from the Medicaid Reserve Fund” except to be returned to the General Revenue Fund or as approved “by another act of the General Assembly.”

Kasich, a Republican, unilaterally enacted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion last fall, making hundreds of thousands of able-bodied childless Ohio adults eligible for the entitlement program meant to serve children, low-income parents, and the physically handicapped.

Because legislators refused to support Kasich’s Obamacare expansion, the governor turned to the obscure Ohio Controlling Board to appropriate the program’s federal funding.

The seven-member board approved the Kasich Administration’s request after John McCarthy, Kasich’s Medicaid director, warned that refusing to appropriate $2.5 billion in Obamacare funding would bankrupt the Ohio Medicaid program.

Six House Republicans sued over the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s end-run around the Ohio General Assembly, but the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that prior House and Senate votes banning the Obamacare expansion did not prove the legislature opposed the Obamacare expansion.

Subsequent efforts to limit the powers of the Controlling Board, which is chaired by Kasich staffer Randy Cole and appropriates taxpayer money without hearing any opponent testimony, have stalled in the General Assembly. Interestingly, $300 million just happens to be the magic number that a Senate proposal would still allow the Controlling Board to spend.

Jim Siegel at The Columbus Dispatch casually marginalized “ultra-conservative” opponents of Medicaid expansion in a June 4 HB 483 story that has since been rewritten without acknowledgment — a common Dispatch practice.

“With the bitterness of a Medicaid expansion they opposed still fresh for some Republican lawmakers, concerns over how Gov. John Kasich could utilize a new $300 million Medicaid reserve fund forced GOP leaders to scramble yesterday to get enough House support to pass an off-year budget bill,” Siegel’s story now reads.

The Dispatch and Ohio’s other large newspapers, staunch supporters of the Obamacare expansion, frequently frame its critics as extremists in both news and opinion coverage.

The language that prompted concern from House conservatives follows. Strikethrough indicates text removed from the version of HB 483 initially approved by the House, and underline indicates new text added by the Senate.

Notwithstanding section 131.44 of the Revised Code, cash shall not be transferred to the Income Tax Reduction Fund prior to July 1, 2015 of the surplus revenue, as that term is defined in that section, that exists on June 30, 2014, after the transfer of cash to the Budget Stabilization Fund (Fund 7013) required under division (B)(1)(a) of section 131.44 of the Revised Code, up to $300,000,000 cash shall be transferred by the Director of Budget and Management from the General Revenue Fund to the Medicaid Reserve Fund (Fund 5Y80).

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Ohio Legislators Hope to Force a Vote on Common Core Repeal

Ohio Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney) announced at a June 4 Ohioans Against Common Core rally that he is circulating a discharge petition to force a floor vote on Common Core repeal legislation.

“Why do we choose to use federal standards? Money. Politics. Failed leadership,” Adams said after quoting from national commentator George Will’s recent dissection of Common Core.

“Today we have leaders who have forgotten where they came from and who put them here,” Adams continued.

Regarding complaints from Republican Governor John Kasich’s apologists that conservatives don’t understand how the political process works, Adams — a former Navy Seal — said, “I know what protocol is, and I know the chain of command. Well, this isn’t the military.”

Ann Becker, a political activist and former teacher from the Cincinnati area, discussed the House Bill 237 (HB 237) discharge petition with Rep. Adams and posted their conversation in the following YouTube video.

Becker also shared an interview with Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta), the primary sponsor of HB 237 and another of the speakers at yesterday’s Ohioans Against Common Core event.

Rep. Thompson explained that although the bill — introduced last July — has received two hearings in the House Education Committee, he doesn’t expect a committee vote because chairman Gerald Stebelton (R-Lancaster) opposes it.

Adams, Thompson, and Rep. Pete Beck (R-Mason) have already signed the HB 237 discharge petition. If 50 Ohio House members sign the petition, the bill will go to the House floor for consideration before the entire body.

There are currently 60 Republicans and 39 Democrats in the 99-member Ohio House. Including Adams, Thompson, and Beck, HB 237 has 14 cosponsors.

Rep. Adams, the assistant majority floor leader, is term-limited at the end of the session. As a result, he is one of few elected Ohio Republicans willing to publicly criticize Gov. Kasich and Kasich’s allies in legislative leadership.

Ohioans Against Common Core has been working since before the introduction of HB 237 to inform parents about Common Core, building up pressure on Republican leaders to get Ohio out of the national program.

“Common Core is not a fad,” Ohioans Against Common Core spokeswoman Heidi Huber said at yesterday’s rally. “Common Core is the final step — the capstone — to the federalizing of education.”

“You cannot support local control and support Common Core. We know that.”

Huber also reminded rally attendees that state legislators are meant to be a “firewall” protecting citizens from  federal government overreach.

“We’re not demanding or asking for anything that we’re not guaranteed, or that they haven’t taken an oath to do,” Huber insisted.

Huber encouraged Ohioans to talk to their representatives about signing the discharge petition during the current recess in order to force a floor vote following the November election.

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Common Core “Rally for Repeal” Pics

Ohioans Against Common Core held their Common Core “Rally for Repeal” in the Columbus statehouse atrium on Wednesday. Hundreds were on hand to hear speakers and legislators discuss this important issue. Action Item: Call your legislator and respectfully ask him or her to sign the “Discharge Petition” which would allow HB237 the “Common Core Repeal Bill” […]