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Reprinted courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP

ęCopyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus, Ohio, 2003

Originally published October 15, 2003


WeVote decides to register as political action group


The pro-levy community group WeVote decided its efforts too closely resembled an organized political action committee and is registering with state election officials as a political action committee.  The group decided it would organize as a PAC at its Oct. 7 meeting. 

Ohio Revised code states any group that tries to raise and spend money to influence an election must register with the state.  Though WeVote does not fund-raise, it reasoned that in order to focus its full efforts on the school levy, and to keep its activities from becoming an issue, it would register and file the appropriate information in advance of state deadlines.

"The Ohio revised codes definition is very broad. If two people get together and tell you to vote for something you are a PAC," said Betsy Binnig, WeVote co-founder.

WeVote does not solicit funds, and has not spent out of pocket money raised through fund-raisers; however, there are aspects of the groups activities that could be considered in-kind contributions.  In-kind contributions include non-cash contributions of goods are services to PAC. WeVote has held two community forums one on the Win-Win agreement, where attorney Jeff Rich, of the law firm Rich, Crites, and Wesp discussed the history of the agreement, and another on school funding where Dick Maxwell, an Ohio state school funding expert explained how districts across the state have been impacted by the deep state budget cuts to education.

"We want to comply with both the letter and spirit of the law," said Michael Kelley, WeVote co-founder. "The issue of whether or not WeVote should or should not be a PAC was not brought up by outside groups, but was rather an internal discussion between group members," he said.

The filing deadline to register as a PAC is 12 days before the day of the election Nov. 4.

On its e-mail list serve, the group asks members who have spend their own money to submit their name, address, description of the item or service provided, the item or services fair market value, date item or service was provided, and the name of an employer if more than $100 was raised.

"Most of the forms WeVote will return will have many blank lines since they deal with finances," said Binnig.  "But it is not going to hurt us to file so we can put that question to rest," she said.


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Westerville Voters On Target for Education