A recent complaint filed with the Ohio Election Commission alleges that three Ohio lawmakers received free campaign management software related to the Republican National Convention with a total value of nearly $ 9,000.
According to the complaint, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative organization that drafts state law, gave lawmakers, including state representative Scott Wiggam, R-Wooster, a chairman of the ALEC, free access to software for its 2020 election campaign.
Wiggam represents the 1st Ohio House District, which covers Wayne County.
The software, which costs around $ 3,000 per person, was provided free to Wiggam and two other Ohio lawmakers, according to the complaint filed by watch and advocacy groups at the Center for Media and Democracy and Common Cause Ohio. .
CAFTA may have provided it to some of the other 2,000 CAFTA legislative members across the country, totaling about $ 6 million in campaign contributions, according to the complaint.
The Ohio Center and Common Cause have called on the Ohio Election Commission to investigate the allegations. The commission will examine the complaint on October 7.
The complaint claims that free software should count as an in-kind campaign contribution, which would be reported in a candidate’s campaign finance report.
According to state records, Wiggam did not report it for its 2020 campaign.
The same complaints were made against the Ohio State President of the ALEC, Senator Robert McColley, R-Toledo, and the representative of the board of directors of the ALEC, Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati. .
The complaint does not provide evidence that lawmakers used the program.
Wiggam, McColley and Seitz did not respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.
Campaign Funding Violations
The Center for Media and Democracy says the ACLE violated two sections of the Ohio Revised Code and federal law by illegally contributing to campaigns in Ohio and 14 other states.
ALEC is a tax exempt 501 (c) (3). Federal law bars these companies participate in partisan political campaign activities.
the Ohio Revised Code, defines a campaign contribution as a loan, donation, deposit, debt forgiveness, donation, advance, payment or transfer of funds or any item of value “that is made, received or used to influence the results of an election.
The complaint alleges that the CAFTA violated the State Law which states that no company can use its money or property to “aid or oppose a political party, a candidate for an election or a public office appointment” or for any “partisan political objective”.
ALEC did not respond to an email request for comment.
The electoral software in question was created by Voter gravity, a software company that delivers real-time voter information in one place for campaigns.
The software publisher designed the Constitutive Analytics Research Exchange, or CARE, a training program by the ACLA that allows candidates to use voter data when seeking re-election, according to the complaint.
Applicants can enroll in the CARE program through Voter gravity, according to the ALEC CARE website.
Voting Gravity has a history of partisan politics, especially after its integration into the Database of the Republican National Convention in 2015.
âWe think this will help more Republican candidates win in 2016,â said Chris Littleton, COO at Voter Gravity, in a 2015 press release. âWe will continue to push the boundaries of our software and do it of Voter Gravity an even more powerful and user-friendly system.
The Center for Media and Democracy says the RNC Voter Gravity Program provided in ALEC CARE was an in-kind campaign contribution that violates campaign finance laws.
“It is clear from CMD’s investigation and from internal ALEC sources that the CARE program provided by the ALEC is just a repackaging of VoterGravity’s highly partisan campaign software, designed to help Republicans win. and to retain an elected position, âArn Pearson, the Center for Media and Democracy said the executive director in a statement. “ALEC CARE is a cheeky program to help the majority Republican members of the ALEC get re-elected.”
Gravity Voter did not respond to requests for comment.
Contact Bryce by email at [email protected]
On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie