Unions Reboot “Moving Ohio Forward” Front Group for 2014

Moving Ohio Forward logo

Labor unions are complementing their endorsements of and contributions to Ohio Democrats with outside spending through 501(c)(4) front group “Moving Ohio Forward.”

“Moving Ohio Forward (MOF), a newly formed coalition of workers, individuals and progressive organizations headquartered in Columbus, announced its launch today and blasted all of Ohio’s statewide officeholders for ‘sacrificing the interests of Ohio’s women on the altar of right-wing politics,'” the group announced on May 28.

Like Moving Ohio Forward’s message, the group itself is not new: the organization’s nonprofit arm and political action committee (PAC) were both registered with the secretary of state in 2012.

The 501(c)(4) nonprofit was incorporated by Ohio Education Association (OEA) Secretary-Treasurer James Timlin, OEA Executive Director Larry Wicks, and America Votes Ohio director Khaled Salehi. Until his retirement at the end of 2013, Wicks also led union front We Are Ohio.

Moving Ohio Forward’s PAC, Moving Ohio Forward Action Fund, was incorporated by Timlin.

The PAC spent well over $1 million promoting OEA-backed congressional candidates — all Democrats — in 2012, bankrolled primarily with labor union money from Washington, DC.

American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contributed $529,630 and National Education Association (NEA) contributed $500,000 to Moving Ohio Forward Action Fund during the 2012 election cycle.

OEA poured $475,000 into the union front, while United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) donated $100,000 from its DC headquarters and International Brotherhood of Teamsters gave $50,000 from its DC headquarters.

In addition to pushing the usual array of government programs that funnel more money to public employee union bosses, Moving Ohio Forward is advancing the narrative of radical pro-abortion organizations Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

“State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio President and CEO Stephanie Kight, and NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland are standing with Moving Ohio Forward to bring greater awareness to the inequality perpetuated by our current statewide officials,” the group’s May 28 released noted.

The Columbus Dispatch reported that Moving Ohio Forward’s spokesman is “Ryan Monell, who is on leave from the office of Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, head of the Senate’s Democratic caucus.”

“As a 501(c)(4) Moving Ohio Forward aims to expose the harmful policies of Ohio statewide officeholders, from John Kasich and Mary Taylor, to Mike DeWine, Jon Husted, Josh Mandel and Dave Yost,” yesterday’s release explained, calling out every state-level elected Republican.

“Along with women’s rights, MOF will be exposing the harmful effects of the statewide candidate’s supported policies on taxes and the budget, education, voter suppression, energy, and other issues that impact the lives of regular Ohioans.”

Translation: Moving Ohio Forward will focus on the exact positions being highlighted by the Ohio Democratic Party and its candidates for statewide office — and will do so with money from the same unions that fill Ohio Democrats’ campaign coffers.

OEA and Ohio’s other large labor unions wield considerable influence over many of the state’s elected Republicans, but the Ohio Democratic Party is essentially a subsidiary of Big Labor.