Corporate political activity reminders
As the May 8, 2018, primary election rapidly approaches, corporations should keep in mind that Ohio law prohibits corporations from using their money or property for political purposes. “Political purposes” includes activities that aid or oppose a political party, candidate for election or nomination to public office, legislative campaign fund, or organization that supports or opposes any such candidate or partisan political purpose. R.C. 3599.03(A). This prohibition applies to both direct and in-kind contributions and includes both employee time and corporate resources.
There are some exceptions to the general prohibition on the use of corporate funds for political purposes. Corporate funds can be used to support a ballot issue campaign, contribute to a political party building fund or provide administrative support to a corporate PAC, in addition to other things. Corporations can use corporate funds to make independent expenditures and to communicate to stockholders, officers, employees and their families.
Note that corporations may, however, place a campaign sign on its property without violating Ohio law.