Take the Money and Win



The Citizens Policy Center thanks the Joyce Foundation, George Gund Foundation, and the Piper Fund for their encouragement and funding to analyze 1997-1998 campaign contributions to Ohio statewide candidates, legislative caucuses, and statewide political parties. The Center thanks Larry Hansen, vice-president of the Joyce Foundation, for his help networking with other similar projects and his guidance about how best to identify the influence of money in politics.

The Center thanks John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron for his helpful recommendations about the direction the data analysis should take.

The Center thanks Patty Wise for managing and analyzing the database and identifying unknown contributors.

The Center thanks Curt Mayhew, Rose Givens and other members of the Ohio Secretary of State staff who were very helpful in answering questions and providing information requested.

The Center thanks the Center for Responsive Politics for their design of the website for Ohio candidates.

Special thanks to computer programmer Tom Montelione of Vertex Software for his patience and skill developing programs to analyze this data.

Copies of this report are available from the Citizens Policy Center, P.O. Box 8, Dover, Ohio 44622 (330) 343-9588.

Citizens can obtain a free profile of their legislators by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope, marked with the name of their state legislators to Ohio Citizen Action, P.O. Box 8, Dover, Ohio 44622.

© 1999 Citizens Policy Center

Key Findings

  • Ohio statewide and legislative candidates, political parties and legislative caucuses received $80,012,029 in contributions in 1997-1998.
  • Ohio incumbent candidates raised 3.7 times more money than challengers in 1997-1998, compared to five times more in 1995-1996.
  • In the 1998 races, Ohio incumbent state senators who ran were reelected 96 percent of the time, down from 100 percent in 1995-1996. House incumbent members who ran in 1998 were reelected 96.7 percent of the time, down from 97.7 percent in 1995-1996.
  • Candidates who raised more money than their opponents won 88 percent of the time. In 1995-1996 candidates who raised more money won 98.3 percent of the time.
  • 67,761 Ohioans gave individual contributions to Ohio candidates and political parties at the state level. This is only part of the political giving occurring in Ohio. Other Ohioans gave to local candidates, to county political parties, and to federal candidates and races.
  • Only five state assembly legislators raised one-third or more of their money from small grassroots contributions. Legislators with the highest percent from grassroots contributions were the following:

    1Jack Ford 45 %
    2Kirk Schuring41 %
    3Dixie Allen40 %
    4 John Bender 39 %
    5 Gregory Jolivette 37%

    Grassroots contributions consist of contributions from individuals that totaled less than $200.
  • Ohio's top five individual givers were:

    1Montford Will, Everen Securities $385,575
    2Michael Boich, Boich Companies$203,810
    3James Dicke II, Crown Corporation $159,050
    4Leslie Wexner, The Limited $138,000
    5David Brennan, Brennan Industrial Group $106,350

  • In 1997-1998 Ohio's top 5 contributors split contributions between Democrats and Republicans, spending 45 percent on Republicans and 55 percent on Democrats. This figure reflects the full amounts of contributions given under the Douglas exemption to Fisher. In 1995-1996 Ohio's top 5 individual givers spent 99.5 percent of their $1,047,800 on Republicans.
  • Ohio's top five organizational givers (other than political parties) were:

    1 Ohio Education Association $676,911
    2 AFSCME $486,867
    3 Timken Co $426,125
    4 United Auto Workers $412,190
    5 Everen Securities $395,425

    These totals include contributions from employees, pacs, in-kind and other contributions by organization.
  • Political money--contributions from parties, committees and caucuses accounted for 36% percent, or $28.9 million, of the $80 million raised. In 1995-1996 political money constituted 43 percent of the total.
  • In 1997-1998 Republican parties and candidates raised more money than Democrats: Republicans $46,036,332: Democrats $33,842,652. In 1995-1996 Republicans raised more money than Democrats by nearly 2-to-1, $32.5 million to $16.5 million. Because parties and candidate committees are legally allowed to pass large sums of money to each other, it is very difficult to tell the exact aggregate amount of money raised. If one million is raised by a statewide party and then passed to the legislative caucus, the amount raised would appear to be $2 million.
  • The biggest chunk of campaign cash was $515,000 from the Ohio Democratic Party to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Lee Fisher. The second biggest: $450,000 from Bruce Douglas to his own campaign. This contribution was one of several Douglas contributed to his own campaign.
  • Originally the largest contribution in the database received from the Ohio Secretary of State was a $3,000,000 contribution from Finan's campaign committee to the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. This was in reality a $300,000 contribution. Decimal place errors are common in data entry work. Errors like this and errors in coding the types of contributions and skipping entire reports in the computerization process created a less than total database about Ohio 1997-1998 contributions. The Secretary of State's work could be simplified through the enactment of an electronic filing program in Ohio.

Recommendation: Mandatory Electronic Filing of Campaign Finance Information

Statewide and legislative candidates, political action committees, state political parties and caucuses, and those making independent expenditures should be required to file their campaign finance reports electronically. By transmitting campaign finance reports to the Ohio Secretary of State via discs or the Internet, candidates could reduce the Ohio Secretary of State's retyping of campaign finance reports, speed up disclosure of contributions on the Internet, and give voters valuable new information about the flow of money in Ohio politics.

How we did it: The methodology

The Citizens Policy Center analyzed the 1997-1998 contributions to statewide and state legislative candidates, legislative caucuses, and statewide political party committees.

This database is based on campaign finance reports available in computerized form from the Ohio Secretary of State. These data include 1997-1998 contributions for the following:

  • All candidates for the Ohio General Assembly who ran in the 1998 general election and all state senators who ran in 1996 and won.
  • All candidates for the Board of Education and the Ohio Supreme Court who ran in the 1998 general election, and current executive officeholders who ran in 1998.
  • The legislative caucuses and state political party committees for the Ohio Democratic Party and the Ohio Republican Party.
  • For statewide totals, all contributions to candidates, even those who did not make it to the general election, are included.

This study used a methodology developed by Larry Makinson, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, to categorize the economic sectors of contributors. The method is described in detail in the book, Follow the Money. For a copy, contact Ohio Citizen Action (330) 343-9588 or the Center for Responsive Politics (202) 857-0044.

To identify employers of contributors, the Citizens Policy Center obtained the following databases:

  • Information from the American University Campaign Finance web page that included data received from the Federal Election Commission about Ohio donors,
  • Databases of architects, doctors, dentists, funeral directors and certified public accountants registered to do business in Ohio from the Ohio Division of Administrative Services,
  • A database from the Ohio Supreme Court of attorneys in Ohio,
  • A list of lobbyists in Ohio from the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee,
  • The Yellow Pages USA Deluxe CD, a national Yellow Pages directory,
  • The 1995-1996 Take the Money and Win database in which the Center had prepared a similar analysis on 1995-96 contributors, and
  • A list of contributors to political action committees in Ohio.

In some cases contributors were assigned an economic sector code without knowledge of their employers. Where this is seen in the database, the coding was based on giving from the same contributor to a political action committee. For instance a person who gave to the Ohio Association of Realtors political action committee, but who displayed no employer, was coded in the Financial/Real Estate sector.

The database contains contributions of $80 million. The Center identified the employer or organizational affiliation of 96 percent and the economic sector of 94 percent of the $80 million donated to Ohio candidates and parties

Before placing the profiles in this book and on the web page, the Center sent a copy of every profile to the appropriate candidate or committee. The Center called every current officeholder at the statewide and state legislative level and tried to determine if officials had any questions about the profile. Specific requests for corrections were researched and corrected where needed.

For each candidate the total amount in this database includes the following:

  • Contributions received
  • In-kind contributions received
  • Contributions the candidate gave to his or her own campaign.

The profiles do not include Statements of Other Income which include interest, refunds, returns and other non-contribution income.

For questions or comments about the web site, contact Laura Yeomans, P.O. Box 8, Dover, Ohio 44622. (330) 343-9588 (phone) (330) 364-9901 (fax).

For more information about the FoxPro programming used in this analysis, contact Tom Montelione of Vertex Software.

Explanation of the profiles

The following is an explanation of the candidate financial profile. The contributions reported are from the 1997-1998 campaign finance filings, available to the public through the Ohio Secretary of State's campaign finance database.

Where the money came from

This pie chart indicates the percent of contributions from --
  • political action committees (PACs),
  • individuals contributing $200 or more (LG INDIV ($200+)),
  • individuals contributing less than $200 (SM INDIV (less than $200)),
  • contributions from political party committees; including the legislative caucuses, statewide political parties, and other candidates or candidate political committees, (POLITICAL PARTY),
  • money contributed by the candidate him or herself (CANDIDATE), and
  • contributions from other organizations not included above (OTHER).
  • (TAX CHECK-OFF) appears only in political party committee profiles where applicable.

Contributions by economic sectors

This bar chart reveals contributions from different sectors of the economy. The sector codes follow a methodology described in Follow the Money, by Larry Makinson, director of the Center for Responsive Politics, published in 1994.

The "Education, Govt, Retired" economic category includes contributions from non-profit organizations, government employees, public officials, schools and school officials, and retired individuals.

"Unknown economic sectors" are contributions from organizations or individuals whose type of business or professional affiliation could not be determined by researchers.

Total individual, PAC and organizational contributions

This table details what contributions were received within each economic sector, listing contributions from individuals, political action committees (PACs) and other organizations.

Total income reported

The amounts listed for total contributions may differ slightly from those reported by the Ohio Secretary of State. The Secretary of State allows candidates to deduct expenditures for fund-raisers from total contributions reported. Our totals include all contribution sources and do not deduct any expenditures. The Secretary of State income totals for Ohio General Assembly candidates includes loans, interest and refunds. The totals in this report do not include other income or loan sources.

Political party committees

These are contributions from the political party committees, the legislative caucuses, other candidates and candidate campaign committees.

Candidate gave to campaign

This listing on the profile includes money contributed by the candidate to his or her own campaign.

Top organizational contributors

The contributions listed here are the total amounts given by companies, organizations and/or their employees.

1997-1998 Committees:

Committees are listed for legislators who were in office during the 1997-1998 cycle.

Statewide top 20 political party or candidate committees

1 Ohio Republican Party $4,134,091
2 Ohio Democratic Party $3,151,465
3 Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee $2,895,666
4 Republican Senate Campaign Committee $1,749,048
5 Democratic National Committee $1,362,382
6 Ohio House Democratic Caucus $1,150,737
7 Republican National Committee $1,059,800
8 Republican National State Elections Comm. $957,000
9 Democratic Senate Campaign Committee $579,301
10 Davidson for State Rep. Committee $506,500
11 Finan Campaign Committee $475,104
12 Summit County Republican Party $414,148
13 Cuyahoga County Democratic Party $405,847
14 Committee for a Democratic Majority$346,617
15 Democratic Congressional Campaign Comm$188,570
16 Gardner, Citizens for $177,550
17 Franklin County Democratic Party $174,054
18 Butler County Republican Party $165,470
19 DLCC Hard Account $155,000
20 Tiberi, Friends of $149,775

Top individual contributors statewide 1997-1998

RankIndividualAddressTotal given statewideEconomic Sector
1 Montford Will Dublin, OH$385,575Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
2Michael BoichSteubenville, OH$203,810Energy and Environment
3James Dicke, IINew Bremen, OH$159,050Construction
4Leslie WexnerColumbus, OH$138,000Mfg. & Misc. Business
5David BrennanAkron, OH$106,350Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
6Abigail WexnerNew Albany, OH$103,500Mfg. & Misc. Business
7Richard JacobsWestlake, OH$103,200Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
8Ann BrennanAkron, OH$ 93,200Lobbyists and Lawyers
9John CafaroYoungstown, OH$ 81,600Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
10Paul TippsColumbus, OH$ 76,550Lobbyists and Lawyers

Top 10 organizational contributors statewide
(Includes PAC, employee and other contributions by company. Political parties and caucuses not listed here.)

RankOrganizationTotal given statewideEconomic Sector
1Ohio Education Assoc$676,911Labor
3Timken Co$426,125Mfg. & Misc. Business
4United Auto Workers$412,190Labor
5Everen Securities Inc.$395,425Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
6Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers$394,750Lobbyists and Lawyers
7Ohio AFL-CIO$392,629Labor
8Boich Companies$369,310Energy and Environment
9Ohio Assoc. of Realtors$365,755Finance, Real Estate, Ins.
10American Financial Corporation$359,451Finance, Real Estate, Ins.