Pro-DeWine group to bring dark money to 2018 Ohio governor's race


The group's homepage declares that DeWine and his running mate, Jon Husted, are "pro-life," "pro-gun rights," and will create a "leaner, more efficient state government." The site invites people to sign up to help make it happen. Nearly all of the Facebook posts by the group, set up by a former longtime DeWine aide, promote DeWine and his policies. Half of the group's policy papers plug DeWine's actions as Ohio attorney general.

But to the IRS -- in theory anyway -- Securing Ohio's future isn't a pro-DeWine group. It's an advocacy group whose primary purpose isn't politics, but to promote general "social welfare." 

That distinction means Securing Ohio's Future doesn't have to disclose its donors, or even offer a detailed list of its expenses, so long as it can demonstrate that its primary purpose is to promote general social welfare.


Brendan Fisher, an official with the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, said a "reasonable voter" would look at Securing Ohio's Future, and gather it was formed to help DeWine and Husted win the election.

"But we've seen over the past few years that the IRS has not been particularly willing to enforce its own rules when it comes to 501(c)(4) entities being used as vehicles for wealthy donors to anonymously influence elections," he said.

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