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Issue 4 Pension Reform
CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- With just one week until election day, Cincinnatians will not be able to find out who has been paying for the effort to get the citys pension system changed.
Issue 4 made it onto the ballot after a group called Cincinnati for Pension Reform obtained enough signatures in a petition drive. But the most recent campaign finance reports do not give a clear picture of who is funding the drive.
Earlier this year, Cincinnati for Pension reform paid $69,000 to a California company to hire petition signature collectors.
For example, the most recent campaign finance disclosures show a West Chester group called the Jobs and Progress Fund gave $69,000. But under current campaign laws, certain groups, such as Jobs and Progress, do not have to reveal where they received the money. So, in theory, it could be one person donating $69,000, or 69,000 people donating $1 apiece.
Most of the $231,000 raised by Cincinnati for Pension Reform came from groups in West Chester, in Butler County. Another group was from Virginia.
Not one was from the City of Cincinnati.
A group called A Public Voice gave more than $100,000, and has an address of 8216 Princeton-Glendale Road, #172. 8216 Princeton-Glendale is a UPS Store in a strip mall, and #172 is a mailbox in that store.
Conservative activist Chris Littleton, who runs two other groups which contributed to the pension petition campaign, said the real issue is not who contributes, but rather the need to change Cincinnatis financially troubled pension system, or the Queen City could, become another Detroit.
But Jeff Harmon, the president of CODE, the citys middle managers union, says Issue 4 would cause more problems than it would solve, potentially leading to service cuts and tax hikes.
And Harmon says it is important to know who is contributing, otherwise, You dont know where the money came from and whos behind it. What are their ulterior motives?
The group opposing Issue 4, called Cincinnati for Pension Responsibility, has raised about $207,000, virtually all of it from labor unions which represent city workers.
The contribution numbers for both sides should change, as the most recent report was due October 24th, and the next campaign finance report is not due until after the election.
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