Foreigners should not be able to influence Ohio elections. Bill would kick them out.

This op-ed first appeared on The Columbus Dispatch on March 15th, 2024.

Ohioans deserve elections that are free of foreign influence.

But right now, foreign nationals like billionaire activist Hansjörg Wyss are exploiting a tangled web of liberal special interest groups to funnel vast sums into elections all over America. Armed with almost unlimited resources, these foreign-funded groups are influencing ballot issue campaigns across the country. And Ohio is at the heart of it all.

Just last year, one of these foreign-backed groups, Sixteen Thirty Fund, spent over $14 million on ballot issue campaigns in Ohio.

That was no one-off.

Sixteen Thirty Fund is already one of the largest backers of an issue campaign dubbed “Citizens Not Politicians”—ironic, given Sixteen Thirty Fund’s foreign funding—and is poised to spend millions on ballot initiatives this year.

As a former Ohio Secretary of State and the leader of an organization devoted to advancing fair and honest elections, we believe this foreign influence should be stopped. It is already illegal for foreign nationals like Mr. Wyss to donate to political candidates. The same should be true for ballot issues.

The scope of foreign influence in politics today is astounding. Hansjörg Wyss is one of the largest political donors in America, despite choosing not to become a citizen. According to a biography of Wyss written by his sister, Wyss’s goal is to “[re]interpret the American Constitution in the light of progressive politics.”

By all accounts, he is making good on his promise to influence American politics. Politico recently reported that Wyss “showered liberal groups” with $63 million in 2022 alone. All in, Wyss has funneled nearly half a billion dollars into partisan organizations and causes.

Continue reading on The Columbus Dispatch.

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