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Ohio Secretary of State Urges Legislature to Block Foreign Influence in State Elections

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Columbus, Ohio – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has reiterated his plea for the Ohio House of Representatives to swiftly enact legislation aimed at preventing foreign interference in Ohio’s elections. LaRose’s call comes as he urges lawmakers to approve a bill recently passed by the Ohio Senate, which addresses the issue of foreign influence in campaign finance.

Secretary LaRose initially raised concerns in January regarding a campaign finance loophole that permits foreign nationals to exert influence, directly or indirectly, on ballot issue campaigns. In response, the Ohio Senate introduced Senate Bill 215, seeking to rectify the loophole. This week, the Senate revisited the matter, incorporating the foreign influence ban into a bill addressing a ballot access issue for the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee. However, Democratic opposition to the legislation arose due to the inclusion of the foreign influence ban.

LaRose pointedly criticized Democrats, accusing them of prioritizing the interests of Swiss billionaire Hansj√∂rg Wyss over the integrity of Ohio’s electoral process. Wyss, largely unknown to the public, has reportedly poured millions of dollars into Ohio’s election campaigns, aiming to sway outcomes to his liking.

According to disclosures and media reports, Wyss has contributed substantial sums through organizations like the Tides Foundation and the Sixteen Thirty Fund, both of which have ties to him. The Sixteen Thirty Fund, in particular, has received over $200 million from Wyss since 2016, with significant portions allocated to influence Ohio elections.

Additionally, Wyss’s Wyss Foundation reportedly plays a role in shaping media coverage favorable to Democratic causes. The foundation’s efforts include funding the States Newsroom, a network of pseudo-news publications known for their left-leaning bias, including the Ohio Capital Journal.

Expressing concern over the potential manipulation of Ohio’s election outcomes by foreign entities, LaRose emphasized the need for legislative action to close existing loopholes.

“Ensuring the integrity of our elections is paramount. Ohioans deserve confidence that their voices are not drowned out by foreign interests,” stated Secretary LaRose. “I urge the House to act swiftly in closing this loophole to safeguard our democratic process.”

As the debate unfolds in the Ohio legislature, the spotlight remains on the critical need to fortify Ohio’s electoral system against foreign interference and undue influence.