Ohio Issue 1: If it's really about big money and democracy, opposition again showing its hypocrisy

Big money is behind every major election. It's been that way almost since America's founding, and it will always be that way.

For grassroots organizations like Buckeye Firearms Association, money comes in small packages from a large pool of donors who live ordinary lives but want to help secure Second Amendment rights in extraordinary ways. It doesn't come from a handful of billionaires, and it doesn't trickle down from national organizations. Our donors know our purpose, and we openly fight for them, in addition to offering many education programs. The same is true of other organizations who support Issue 1, such as Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio Restaurant Association, Sportsmen's Alliance, NFIB Ohio, Ohio Hotel & Lodging Association, Associated Builders and Contractors Ohio, Ohio Pork Council, and Ohio Chamber of Commerce — and now the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, whose July 7 endorsement post includes a nice FAQ explaining why it endorses Issue 1.

It isn't the money; it's how the money expands

The big money itself isn't the issue. Wealthy donors on both sides of every major issue and race — from within Ohio's borders and from beyond — pour large sums of cash into advertising and toward political action committees (PACs) and candidates in hopes of seeing a return on their investment in one way or another.

Look at the recent petition filing to get abortion rights added to the Ohio Constitution. According to a July 5 Columbus Dispatch story, proponents, led by ACLU of Ohio, expect to spend $35 million on it. Where's the outcry?

By the way, if voters say yes to Issue 1, a 60% majority vote would be needed for the abortion-rights amendment to pass; however, the petition itself would not require signatures from all 88 counties because the petition deadline comes before the Issue 1 vote. So once again, many counties' voters will get the shaft in the petition process.

Big money in politics becomes a problem when it grows exponentially and when it trickles down — a sort of domino effect.

For example, wealthy donors like George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett funnel millions — if not billions — into races and issues that serve their purpose. But it isn't always sent directly for one particular issue. It's a much bigger systematic money machine among the progressive elites. Often, they send large amounts to national-level radical organizations. Then money is trickled down to local affiliates, some of which also are funded through mandatory dues.

If it's really about the money, follow it with Issue 1's opposition …

We're not sure yet who all is funding One Person One Vote because campaign finance reports won't be due until right before the election. But we can see some of the organizations supporting the PAC, and we know they are far from local grassroots organizations counting entirely on 10-spots from the average Joe. The anti-Issue 1 campaign began advertising in late June, and those ads aren't cheap.

We can't highlight the dozens of supportive organizations listed on the PACs website — many of which get massive sums from big donors — but because we mentioned ACLU of Ohio and a few billionaires, let's focus on only them.

According to ACLU of Ohio's own website, several companies around the nation and beyond match donations to the organization — so many that you have to click on the letter of the alphabet to see the A-to-Z listing.

Here are a few:

AIG (once heavily funded by George Soros)

CitiGroup (also heavenly bankrolled by Soros)

Coca-Cola (billionaire Warren Buffett owns a large stake)

Gannett (one of America's largest news organizations, including The Columbus Dispatch and Cincinnati Enquirer)

Levi Strauss Foundation (formed an anti-gun-rights group with billionaire Michael Bloomberg)

Merck Company Foundation (formed alliances with Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute)

Microsoft (cofounded by billionaire Bill Gates)

Pfizer Inc. (Soros took a position there)

Starbucks (arguably saved by Gates' dad)

ACLU of Ohio, which is among the chief opponents of Issue 1 and the primary force behind the proposed abortion-rights constitutional amendment on the November ballot, itself is a state affiliate of the national ACLU, which was awarded tens of millions from Soros' Open Society Foundations.

Don't be fooled: To the opposition, it isn't really about the money — or 'democracy'

Despite all those claims from the opposition that it's all about keeping big money from the likes of Chicago billionaire Richard Uhlein out of Ohio politics and that it's "undemocratic" to deny a simple majority their say, let's be real: Their hypocrisy is showing. As we've just illustrated, the way in which big money trickles down to the local level is far more concerning than a million-dollar contribution by one guy for one cause.

Of course, they also claim that requiring a 60% majority vote is somehow fascism on display, even though the Democratic Party's bylaws also require 60% for change.

The Merriam-Webster definition of fascism includes "the forcible suppression of opposition." We want voters in all 88 Ohio counties to have a voice, not just the most populous counties targeted by radical billionaires and progressive organizations.

When you consider that they don't want the smaller communities to have a say, ask yourself: Who's the real fascist here?

Don't be fooled: The opposition has one goal — to engrave into the Constitution every extreme progressive idea they can, and that includes intrusive gun control. We cannot make that easy for them. If you support the rights of law-abiding gun owners, please vote YES on Issue 1.

Joe D. "Buck" Ruth is a longtime small-game hunter and gun owner who spent nearly three decades in the news industry.

Issue 1 coverage

Early in-person voting started July 11

How Issue 1 will appear on the Aug. 8 ballot

Sportsmen's Alliance says vote YES on Issue 1

For these 8 organizations, Issue 1 is about more than that one issue

4 big lies opponents are spreading about Issue 1

Why hunters and sportsmen should vote YES on Issue 1

Issue 1: Why Ohio's constitution should be hard to amend

Get a free 'Vote YES on Issue 1' banner

Ohio Farm Bureau backs Issue 1

Why YES vote on Issue 1 is essential to gun rights

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