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1999-2000 campaign contributions
to candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

  

October 25, 2000
Laura Yeomans
Citizens Policy Center

Summary

From 1999 through September, 2000, political action committees, individuals and organizations contributed $2.5 million to the four candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Top Contributors by Organization

The top organizational contributors were the following:

  • Cincinnati Financial Corporation, $59,410
  • Ohio Republican Party, $50,150
  • Summit County Republican Party Judicial Fund, $50,000
  • Nurenberg, Plevin, Heller and McCarthy, $46,000
  • Murray and Murray, $44,750

These totals include contributions from political action committees, individuals and employees of each organization.

Contributions from Economic Sectors

  • "Finance, real estate and insurance" contributed the most to Terrence O'Donnell; $163,205 out of $333,455 contributed to all candidates.
  • "Labor" contributed the most to Tim Black, contributing $90,425 out of $176,675 contributed to all candidates.
  • "Lawyers and Lobbyists" contributed the most to Alice Resnick; $587,787 out of $1,188,992 contributed to all candidates.
  • "Manufacturing and Miscellaneous Business" contributed the most to Terrence O'Donnell; $106,750 out of $212,750 contributed to all candidates.
  • "Political parties/committees" contributed the most to Deborah Cook; $79,125 out of $145,281 contributed to all canididates.

PACs and Individuals

Terrence O'Donnell received the most contributions from political action committees, receiving $203,075. Alice Resnick received the most contributions from individuals, receiving $357,708.

Disclosure Grades

The Center evaluated the candidates' disclosure of the employers of individual contributors who gave more than $100. Three candidates, Black, Cook and Resnick, received an "A" disclosure grade. Terrence O'Donnell received a "D" grade.

Terrence O'Donnell 67 percent D
Alice Resnick 99 percent A
Tim Black 98 percent A
Deborah Cook 92 percent A

The Center identified the employer or organizational affiliation of 98 percent of the dollar amount of all contributions. The Center identified the economic sector of 97 percent of the dollar amount of all contributions.

Major Findings

The Citizens Policy Center examined campaign contributions to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. During that time, individuals, political action committees, political parties, candidates and organizations contributed $2.5 million to the candidates.

Candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court received campaign contributions from every sector of Ohio's economy. Justices received the most contributions from Lawyers and Lobbyists; Finance, Real Estate, Insurance; Manufacturing and Miscellaneous Business; and Labor.

"Unidentified economic sector" contributions include contributions from housewives, students or from employed people where the nature of the employer's business could not be determined.

The top three contributors to the justices include the Cincinnati Financial Corporation, Ohio Republican Party, and the Summit County Republican Party Judicial Fund.

The Center determined the top ten organizational contributors to the Ohio Supreme Court justices by summing contributions from political action committees and employees for each organization.

1999-2000 contributions from different sectors of Ohio's economy to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Sector Contributions
Agriculture $21,570
Communications $62,213
Construction $81,225
Education, Government, Retired $60,311
Energy and Environment $62,875
Finance, Real Estate, Insurance $333,455
Health $42,950
Ideological $1,220
Labor $176,675
Lawyers and lobbyists $1,188,992
Manufacturing and Misc. Business $212,750
Transportation $33,728
Unidentified economic sector, housewives $96,316
Subtotal of economic sectors $2,374,280
Candidate gave own campaigns 0
Political parties, committees, candidates $145,836
Total $2,520,116

1999-2000 top ten organizational contributors to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Rank Organizations Contributions
1 Cincinnati Financial Corporation $59,410
2 Ohio Republican Party $50,150
3 Summit County Rep. Party Judicial Fd $50,000
4 Nurenberg, Plevin, Heller and McCarthy $46,000
5 Murray and Murray $44,750
6 Nationwide Insurance $40,775
7 Spangenberg, Shibley, Traci and Lancione $40,250
8 Scanlon and Gearinger $37,000
9 Miraldi and Barrett Co. $30,000
10 Ohio Education Assoc $30,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

1999-2000 contributions from different sectors of Ohio's economy to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court
Sector O'Donnell Resnick Black Cook Total
Agriculture $9,525 $1,420 $0 $10,625 $21,570
Communications $26,525 $0 $9,088 $26,600 $62,213
Construction $37,475 $2,700 $1,950 $39,100 $81,225
Education, Government, Retired $9,585 $7,251 $27,265 $16,210 $60,311
Energy and Environment $33,675 $0 $0 $29,200 $62,875
Finance, Real Estate, Insurance $163,205 $3,550 $7,525 $159,175 $333,455
Health $18,850 $2,375 $5,200 $16,525 $42,950
Ideological $750 $100 $120 $250 $1,220
Labor $250 $86,000 $90,425 $0 $176,675
Lawyers and lobbyists $111,290 $587,787 $409,365 $80,550 $1,188,992
Manufacturing and Misc. Business $106,750 $2,200 $8,150 $95,650 $212,750
Transportation $18,100 $400 $828 $14,400 $33,728
Unidentified economic sector $31,235 $11,300 $32,001 $21,780 $96,316
Subtotal of economic sectors $567,215 $705,083 $591,917 $510,065 $2,374,280
Candidate gave own campaigns $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Political parties, committees, candidates $43,700 $3,300 $19,711 $79,125 $145,836
Total $610,915 $708,383 $611,628 $589,190 $2,520,116

Energy and the Environment includes companies such as coal and utility companies, not environmental groups.

Ideological groups include organizations that are pro-life, pro-choice, environmental groups and other groups with focused goals. Unidentified economic sector refers to contributors who were not identified by candidates and whose employment or economic category we could not identify.

For more information about the businesses included in each sector, refer to Follow the Money by Larry Makinson.

Contributions from Lawyers and Lobbyists

The Lawyers and Lobbyists sector of the Ohio economy contributed $1.18 million to the candidates for justice of Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. Alice Resnick received the highest contributions from this sector.

Candidates received the following contributions from lawyers and lobbyists
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Alice Resnick $587,787
2 Tim Black $409,365
3 Terrence O'Donnell $111,290
4 Deborah Cook $80,550
Total $1,188,992

Top five "Lawyers and Lobbyists" Organizational Contributors
Rank Organization Contributions
1 Nurenberg, Plevin, Heller and McCarthy $46,000
2 Murray and Murray Co. LPA $44,750
3 Spangenberg, Shibley, Traci and Lancione $40,250
4 Scanlon and Gearinger $37,000
5 Miraldi and Barrett Co. $30,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Lawyers and lobbyists represent a broad spectrum of interests, some representing the rights of consumers and victims. Other lawyers represent manufacturers, hospitals, insurance companies or real estate developers. If a lawyer is solely on the payroll of a hospital, labor union, or manufacturer, his or her contributions were coded as coming from the economic sector of the employer and were not included in this sector.

The Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers is an association of lawyers who primarily represent victims or consumers. In the chart below, the Center analyzed subtotals from the Trial Lawyers for each justice and subtotals from other attorneys who may represent a variety of interests, including defense of insurance, real estate, or manufacturing interests. The Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers and its members gave 16 percent of the contributions.

Contributions from OATL and other lawyers
Candidate Total contrib. to candidates from all sectors Contributions from OATL members Percent of contributions from OATL lawyers Contributions from other lawyers* Percent of contributions from other lawyers*
Terrence O'Donnell $610,915 $1,350 0.2% $107,040 18%
Alice Resnick $708,383 $257,387 36% $330,400 47%
Tim Black $611,628 $152,425 25% $256,940 42%
Deborah Cook $589,190 $450 0.1% $75,725 13%
Total $2,520,116 $405,814 16% $775,630 31%
* These may include attorneys who represent a variety of interests, including defense of insurance, real estate, or manufacturing interests.

Contributions from OATL and Other Sources
Candidate Total contributions from all sectors Contributions from OATL members Percent of contributions from OATL lawyers Contributions from other sources all together Percent of contributions from other sources
Terrence O'Donnell $610,915 $1,350 .2% $609,565 99.8%
Alice Resnick $708,383 $257,387 36% $450,996 64%
Tim Black $611,628 $153,628 25% $458,000 75%
Deborah Cook $589,190 $450 .1% $588,740 99.9%
Total $2,520,116 $412,815 16% $2,107,301 84%

Eighty-four percent of contributions to the justices for the Ohio Supreme Court came from a variety of sources, including finance, real estate, insurance and a variety of business, labor and other interests. Tim Black’s OATL total here is slightly larger than his OATL total earlier in this report. This total includes OATL members that are working in other economic sectors as well as the Lawyers and Lobbyists sector.

Contributions from Finance, Real Estate, Insurance

The Finance, Real Estate, and Insurance sector of Ohio's economy contributed $333,455 to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court justices from 1999 to September, 2000. Deborah Cook received the highest contributions from this sector.

Contributions from financial corporations, real estate developers and insurance companies
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Terrence O'Donnell $163,205
2 Deborah Cook $159,175
3 Tim Black $7,525
4 Alice Resnick $3,550
Total $333,455

Top five organizational contributors from "Finance, Real Estate, Insurance"
Rank Organization Contributions
1 Cincinnati Financial Corp $59,410
2 Nationwide Insurance $40,775
3 American Financial Corp $24,000
4 National City Bank $13,000
5 Motorists Mutual Ins. $10,370
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Contributions from Manufacturing and Miscellaneous Business

Manufacturing and miscellaneous businesses contributed $212,750 to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. Terrence O'Donnell received the highest contributions from this sector.

Contributions from manufacturing and miscellaneous business
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Terrence O'Donnell $106,750
2 Deborah Cook $95,650
3 Tim Black $8,150
4 Alice Resnick $2,200
Total $212,750

Top five organizational contributors from "Manufacturing and Miscellaneous Business"
Rank Organization Contributions
1 Proctor and Gamble $23,400
2 Cintas $20,200
3 AVI Food Systems $16,000
4 Plaskolite Inc $12,250
5 Longaberger Basket $12,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Contributions from Other Business

Other businesses contributed $304,561 to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. "Other business" includes Agriculture, Communications, Construction, Environment, Health and Transportation sectors. Terrence O'Donnell received the highest contributions from these combined sectors.

Contributions from "Other Business"
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Terrence O'Donnell $144,150
2 Deborah Cook $136,450
3 Tim Black $17,066
4 Alice Resnick $6,895
Total $304,561

Top five organizational contributors from "Other Business"
Rank Organization Contributions
1 Ohio Valley Coal Co. $12,000
2 Ohio Farm Bureau $11,000
3 American Coal Co. $10,000
3 American Electric Power $10,000
3 Crown Equipment $10,000
3 Daimler Chrysler Corp $10,000
3 Ohio Medical Assoc $10,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Contributions from Labor

Labor unions contributed $176,675 to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. Tim Black received the highest contributions from this sector.

Contributions from Labor
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Tim Black $90,425
2 Alice Resnick $86,000
3 Terrence O'Donnell $250
4 Deborah Cook $0
Total $176,675

Top five organizational contributors from "Labor"
1 Ohio Education Assoc $30,000
2 Teamsters $10,250
3 Ohio Federation of Teachers $10,000
3 AFSCME $10,000
3 Fraternal Order of Police $10,000
3 IBEW $10,000
3 Ohio AFL-CIO $10,000
3 United Auto Workers $10,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Contributions from Political Parties, Committees, Candidates

Political parties, committees and candidates contributed $145,281 to the candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September, 2000. Deborah Cook received the highest contributions from political parties.

Contributions from political parties, committees, candidates
Rank Candidate Contributions
1 Deborah Cook $79,125
2 Terrence O'Donnell $43,700
3 Tim Black $19,711
4 Alice Resnick $3,300
Total $145,281

Top five organizational contributors from "Political Parties, Committees, Candidates"
Rank Organization Contributions
1 Ohio Republican Party $50,150
2 Summit County Rep. Party Judicial Fund $50,000
3 Black, Committee to Re-elect Judge Timothy $18,248
4 Columbiana County Republican Party $6,650
5 Hamilton County Republican Party $5,000
5 Montgomery County Republican Party $5,000
Totals include all political action committee, employee, and organizational contributions.

Contributions from Education, Retired and Unknown

Contributions from Education, Government, Retired equaled $60,311. Retired individuals contributed $47,233.

Contributions from the Unidentified sector equaled $96,316. The largest part of the Unidentified contributors, $18,050 came from housewives whose economic affiliations could not be identified.

Financial profiles

The following is an explanation of the candidate financial profile. The contributions reported are from the last full campaign cycle for each candidate for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court from 1999 through September 2000. The data used to develop the profiles is available to the public through the Ohio Secretary of State's campaign finance databases and candidate reports.

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 (more than $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).

Contributions by economic sector: 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.

Contributions from individuals, PACs and organizations: This table details what contributions were received within each economic sector, listing contributions from individuals, 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 contributors: Total of Employee, PAC & Other Contributions by Organization: The contributions listed here are the total amounts given by companies, organizations and/or their employees or political action committees.

Disclosure of the employer of major contributors

This study is based on identifications provided by candidates to the Ohio Secretary of State. Statewide and Ohio General Assembly candidates are required to disclose the employer or occupation of contributors who give more than $100. Candidates are required to make a "Best Effort" to obtain this information. People making contributions are also required by law to provide this employer identification to the candidates. The Center examined the candidates' record of compliance with the employer identification requirement in the law.

Because of the potential conflict of interest candidates for justice may face once in office, candidates should disclose the employer identifications of their contributors so that voters may know more about the economic interests behind each candidate.

Three candidates, Black, Cook, and Resnick received an excellent "A" grade. Candidate O'Donnell received a grade of "D" due to a lack of employer identifications provided.

Disclosure of Contributions
Candidate Total contributions Amount of total contrib. > $100 # Amount w/ employer ID > $100 # Percent of amount identified Grade
Terrence O'Donnell $610,915 $322,125 638 $214,325 467 67% D
Alice Resnick $708,383 $359,957 383 $355,607 373 99% A
Tim Black $611,628 $289,637 460 $284,937 452 98% A
Deborah Cook $589,190 $289,275 477 $266,225 432 92% A
Percent of compliance is a percentage of the amount properly identified

Roads to Reform

In 1995 Ohio passed campaign finance reforms that created the first step toward improving fairness in Ohio's political system. The laws created contribution limits, but left many loopholes for wealthy individuals and corporations to influence the political system with large donations. Ohioans need to evaluate the following additional reforms.

  1. Require disclosure for independent and issue advocacy groups that purchase television or radio ads during an election season. In 2000 Ohioans have seen tremendous spending on television from organizations that do not disclose their contributions. Voters deserve to know who is trying to influence elections. These funds should be disclosed through reports submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State.
  2. Require disclosure of all party funds and contributor information. In 1997 and 1998 Ohio Republican Party and the Ohio Democratic Party reported raising $7.1 million. More money was raised by the parties, but information about the contributors was legally kept secret. Secretary of State Ken Blackwell is proposing that funds given to political parties be fully disclosed, so that voters know who is supporting each party.
  3. Restrict legislators from soliciting or receiving contributions when the legislature is in session in Columbus. Ohio legislators review, amend and pass legislation during the same time period that they hold fund-raisers for their campaigns. Secretary of State Blackwell proposes that Ohio ban the receipt and soliciting of contributions while legislators are in session in Columbus.
  4. Produce a state "voter guide" containing information about state candidates. Voter information guides in several states provide information to all households about candidates for statewide and legislative offices. The guides could be printed and distributed by the Ohio Secretary of State and educate voters about all candidates.
  5. Change our political tax credit to a rebate. Currently in Ohio, individuals who contribute up to $50 to statewide or legislative candidates may receive a tax credit on their tax returns. This tax credit could be changed to a rebate, allowing voters to immediately get reimbursed for small contributions to statewide and legislative candidates.
  6. Create a total limit on individual donations statewide. Wealthy individuals in Ohio may give huge sums of money to political parties and multiple candidates. At the federal level, one individual may not give more than $25,000 in total to candidates and committees. A similar restriction in Ohio could reduce the influence of wealthy contributors.
  7. Create a public financing match of donations of $50 or less. Ohio could match small contributions from individuals for legislative and statewide candidates. Matching funds could encourage candidates interested in serving the public interest to run for political office.

For more information about current reform options in Ohio, contact Laura Yeomans (330) 343-9588
or Catherine Turcer (614) 263-4111.

Method

The Citizens Policy Center obtained contribution data from the Ohio Secretary of State for the 1999 and 2000 campaign finance reports filed by the four candidates for justice of the Ohio Supreme Court. This report includes the 1999 annual and the pre- and post-primary reports and the summer monthly filings in 2000. The Center used a variety of databases and resources to try to identify the employer and economic sector of contributors, including the following:

  • The Center's 1997-1998 Take the Money and Win database containing employer identifications
  • The Yellow Pages USA Deluxe CD, a national Yellow Pages directory
  • A database of attorney members of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers

For contributions analyzed in the chart "Contributions from Lawyers" on page two of the report, the Center identified members of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers by using the organization's membership directory. A contribution was marked as coming from the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers if it came from the ADOPT political action committee or was from an individual member. Contributions from firms who had individual employees with membership in the OATL were not included in the OATL total.

The top organizational contributors were identified by standardizing the employer names for contributors and adding together all political action committee and employee contributions for each organization.

Disclosure grades are based on candidate providing the name of the employer or occupation of contributors who gave more than $100. Candidates did not receive credit for listing "best effort" as an answer.

Acknowledgments

The Citizens Policy Center thanks the Joyce Foundation and the George Gund Foundation for their support of this project to document contributions to the 2000 justice candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court. The findings and opinions expressed in this report are those of the Citizens Policy Center.

The Citizens Policy Center, a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization, is the research and public education affiliate of Ohio Citizen Action. The Center was founded in Cleveland in 1976 to conduct research and public education about issues affecting industrial states, recognizing that the industrial states were going through economic changes that would make obsolete much of the conventional wisdom about state and local public policy.

The Center thanks Doug Oplinger of the Akron Beacon Journal and Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch for assistance identifying the employer of large contributors.

Laura Yeomans is the research director of the Citizens Policy Center. She is the author of this report. The Center thanks Patty Wise and Julianne Maybaugh for their database research work and analysis. For questions about the report, call Yeomans at (330) 343-9588.

For a copy of this report, write to the Citizens Policy Center, P.O. Box 8, Dover, Ohio 44622. © 2000 Citizens Policy Center