“Moving Ohio Forward” is a D.C. Union Front

Progressive super PAC Moving Ohio Forward is a labor front group launched in September with two $500,000 contributions from Washington, D.C. unions. Ohio Education Association (OEA) Secretary-Treasurer James Timlin is the treasurer of Moving Ohio Forward, which campaigned in support of ten Democrat candidates for the Ohio House.

Nine of the ten candidates backed by Moving Ohio Forward were endorsed by OEA. Three – Donna O’Connor, Maureen Reedy, and John Patterson – were OEA members, hand-picked and groomed for office by the union.

The first Federal Election Commission (FEC) filings submitted by Moving Ohio Forward show that the super PAC received equal donations totaling $1 million from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the National Education Association (NEA) in Washington, D.C. on September 27 and 28, respectively.

In fact, every dollar of the more than $1.3 million in contributions reported by Moving Ohio Forward has come from Washington, D.C.

On September 30, America Votes made an in-kind contribution of $110,000. America Votes is a Washington-based coalition of labor unions and other progressive groups.

In October, Moving Ohio Forward received an additional $29,630 from AFSCME and another $182,500 from America Votes. The Teamsters contributed $50,000, and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) gave $15,000.

Six of the ten Democrats backed by Moving Ohio Forward won their races on November 6. Only two were incumbents.

The super PAC’s web address was secured through a proxy registrar on September 20, 2012, a day before “Moving Ohio Forward Action Fund” registered with the Ohio secretary of state’s office. No contributions or expenditures have been reported to the state.

Moving Ohio Forward joined Facebook on October 4, and posted its first update to Twitter on October 25.

The “About” page on the super PAC’s website claims, “Moving Ohio Forward is a coalition of organizations that believe access to quality education, adequate healthcare, good jobs, and a strong middle class lead to a better future for all Ohioans. Moving Ohio Forward is working to elect and to hold accountable public officials who will fight to make sure every citizen has access to these fundamental opportunities.”

On Twitter, Moving Ohio Forward distills its self-description to, “Fighting for quality education, adequate healthcare, good jobs, and a strong middle class in Ohio.”

An even more brief – and far more accurate – description would read, “Moving Ohio Forward is a campaign front for progressive D.C. unions.”

The collectivist branding of Moving Ohio Forward represents a lurch to the left from the 2011 We Are Ohio campaign against public employee union reform. On Facebook, We Are Ohio describes itself as “a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that fights to protect and create good-paying jobs for all Ohioans.”

“We Are Ohio is a citizen-driven, community-based, bipartisan coalition that includes public and private sector workers and employees, autoworkers, police officers, firefighters, teachers, nurses, pastors, small business owners, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, local elected officials and business leaders, students, Moms, Dads, family members, and your neighbors,” the PAC claims on its website.

Media Trackers reported this spring that 95 percent of We Are Ohio’s 2011 funding came directly from labor unions – with nearly 50 percent of all contributions coming from unions outside Ohio.

OEA was the top donor to We Are Ohio, funneling more than $6.5 million to the front group.

In October, Media Trackers noted in coverage of union campaign Voters First Ohio that We Are Ohio reported no contributions to the secretary of state for the July 1 – October 17 period.

Legacy media reporters in Ohio have rarely identified We Are Ohio as a campaign arm of Big Labor. Because OEA’s recent history has been littered with legal challenges and because the union’s president was named “Democrat of the Year” this summer, media refusal to call a spade a spade is invaluable to OEA’s bosses – who campaign for bigger government to create “a strong middle class” while raking in forced dues.

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