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Yes We Can Coalition Says Proposed Campaign Finance Reforms Aren't Enough

Christopher Columbus statue in front of Columbus City Hall.
Gabe Rosenberg

Progressive group Yes We Can Columbus is voicing opposition to City Council's proposed campaign finance rules.

The proposal, introduced last week, would align Columbus's rules with the state's, limiting annual contributions to local candidates to about $13,000.

Nicole Butler, chair of Yes We Can's campaign finance reform working group, says that's much too high.

"It would be the highest limit in the country for any city," she says. "I think it would be possible for people to give $51,000 in a single election cycle to people running for City Council or mayor in Columbus."

Their group thinks that the council should ask people what they want, though it doesn't have a specific limit in mind.

"Certainly not $13,000, which is twice as much as the next highest city's limit," she says.

In Cleveland, contributions are capped at $5,000 per individual and $7,500 per PAC.

She says her group likes the new disclosure requirements in the proposal, but that those prohibitions against dark money mean that the city can implement donation limits without fear. While Yes We Can sees a need for changes, Butler says this is not a step in the right direction.

"This is going to create the illusion of reform and make it harder for actual reform to happen," she says.

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.