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The Senate Race in Ohio Is the Sickest in U.S. History in Terms of Billionaire Money from Outside the State 

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens:

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Sherrod Brown, a Democrat and life-long Ohioan, is running for his fourth term in the U.S. Senate, after more than 17 years of proving consistently with his voice and actions that it’s the working class of Ohio that he stands up for in Congress.

It would seem that Brown’s reelection should be an easy win. Instead, it will be one of the most expensive Senate races in U.S. history with the outcome dependent on just how vile and vicious the attack ads funded by out-of-state billionaires are against Brown.

According to AdImpact.com, outside groups have reserved $92.8 million in ads they plan to run supporting Brown’s Republican challenger, Bernie Moreno, a man who has bragged about his early “lower-middle-class status,” but whom the New York Times describes as being “born into a rich and politically connected family” in Bogotá, Columbia.

How did Senator Brown end up with a target on his back? It comes down to two things. Republicans need to oust Brown to grab majority control of the U.S. Senate; and Brown is the Chair of the powerful Senate Banking Committee where key Presidential nominees need to get confirmed. Putting a right-wing Republican in the Chairmanship of the Senate Banking Committee would grease the skids for a MAGA agenda.

The Club for Growth Action Super PAC played a major role in making sure Moreno won the Republican primary so he could go head-to-head with Brown in the general election. The billionaire-supported PAC ran ads during the primary touting Trump’s endorsement of Moreno while stating that “Bernie will stand up to liberal nut jobs.” See one of those ads here.

According to Federal Election Commission data, Club for Growth Action has raised $46.29 million from January 1, 2023 through April 30, 2024. Two billionaires are responsible for two-thirds of that money. Neither of those billionaires live or vote or work in Ohio, and yet their money could sway the outcome of the Senate election in Ohio.

The Club for Growth has pushed for things that the majority of Americans are against: the privatization of Social Security; the destruction of workers’ rights and unions; and the deregulation of dangerous industries.

The largest donor to Club for Growth Action is Jeff Yass, a billionaire who resides in Pennsylvania. From January 1, 2023 to June 7, 2024, Yass has donated $20.5 million to the Club for Growth Action Super PAC. The second largest donor is Richard Uihlein, who has chipped in $10.26 million.

Yass is Co-Founder of Susquehanna International Group (SIG), a hedge fund and global quantitative trading firm. In 2022, the nonprofit investigative news site, ProPublica, reported that Yass has “avoided $1 billion in taxes while largely escaping public scrutiny. He’s now pouring his money into campaigns to cut taxes and support election deniers.”

Richard Uihlein is an heir to the Schlitz brewing fortune. He and his wife, Elizabeth, founded Uline, a shipping supplies company. According to The Hill publication, the 2022 midterms marked Uihlein’s largest ever donations to political campaigns – a staggering $80.7 million.

But it’s not just right-wing Super PACs that Senator Brown is up against. According to FEC records, Moreno’s own primary campaign account, “Bernie Moreno for Senate,” is seeing a huge influx of donors who reside in New York, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and, peculiarly, Minnesota, many of whom have maxed out their individual donations to Moreno of $3300 for the primary and another $3300 for the general election.

Notable among this group are people employed by private equity firms such as Blackstone, Goldman Sachs (which owns a private equity arm), Elliott Management, Lone Star Funds, Fortress Investment Group and numerous others.

Private equity and hedge funds enjoy a craven tax break called “Carried Interest,” where billionaires can end up paying a lower tax rate than teachers, plumbers and factory workers in Ohio.

What Ohioans can do to outwit the swamp creatures in this election is to line up 10 neighbors or friends who were planning to sit out this election and drive them to the polls on November 5.

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