Ohio Senate Votes to Secure Ohio’s Elections for a Third Time

Press Releases · May 23, 2024


WASHINGTON—Three of the nation’s leading election integrity and government oversight organizations released the following statements today praising the Ohio Senate for advancing legislation for a third time to prohibit foreign funding of ballot initiatives in the state. The same good governance groups denounced Speaker Stephens earlier this month when he declined to take up election integrity measures passed by the Ohio Senate.

Heritage Action Director of State Advocacy Catherine Gunsalus:

“The people of Ohio expect their lawmakers to protect and defend the sanctity of their votes—not put ballot measures up for sale to the highest bidder. All Americans deserve free and fair elections, and we applaud the Ohio Senate for voting repeatedly to get foreign bad actors out of state policy debates. If billionaires overseas are able to influence the ballot this fall, Ohioans will know it was Speaker Stephens who welcomed them into the voting booth.”

Honest Elections Project Action Executive Director Jason Snead:

“Congratulations to the Ohio Senate for once again passing legislation to ban foreign money in Ohio ballot issues. Foreign nationals are banned from donating to candidates. Ballot campaigns should be no different. The left-wing Sixteen Thirty Fund spent over $14 million in foreign-backed funds in Ohio last year, and is pumping even more money into ballot measures headed for the ballot this year. The people of Ohio deserve to know their elections are secure against foreign interference. It is time for Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens to bring this bill to the floor for a vote.”

Americans for Public Trust Executive Director Caitlin Sutherland:

“The Ohio Senate once again voted to ban foreign nationals from donating to ballot issue campaigns, taking a strong stand to protect the integrity of the state’s political process. This isn’t a hypothetical problem; Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has funneled money into a dark money group that has spent nearly $15 million to influence local campaigns in Ohio. Ensuring Ohio politics is only influenced by U.S. citizens, not foreign nationals, is common sense and supported by the vast majority of Ohioans. The Ohio House should end the delay tactics, swiftly pass this bill, and send it to the governor’s desk.”

In February, the Ohio Senate passed legislation to ban foreign funding from flowing to ballot issue campaigns, which the Speaker has refused to assign to a committee for debate. However, similar key language in the bill was included in a substitute version of HB 114, which also passed the Ohio Senate in early May. Speaker Stephens chose to effectively side with the Left by leaving the foreign funding prohibition out of the legislation. The same provision included in HB 305, another legislative vehicle passed out of the Ohio Senate this week, but Speaker Stephens refused to let the Ohio House vote on the bill.

As reported by Honest Elections Project Action and Americans for Public Trust, foreign interests influencing our elections is not just a hypothetical problem. Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss has given $243 million to the Left-wing Sixteen Thirty Fund, which advocates for progressive policies across the country. The Sixteen Thirty Fund spent more than $14 million on ballot campaigns in Ohio in 2023. According to recent polling, 85% of registered voters in Ohio agree that foreign nationals should not be influencing our elections, ​​while 68% would support a law to block indirect foreign influence of elections.

Ohio currently ranks 12th out of 51 on The Heritage Foundation’s Election Integrity Scorecard.


Heritage Action is a grassroots organization with two million conservative activists nationwide. Heritage Action advances the policies of our sister organization, The Heritage Foundation, and works to make them a reality.

Americans for Public Trust is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to restoring trust in government by holding politicians and political groups accountable for corrupt and unethical behavior.