Utility, nuclear and coal interests are big players in Ohio politics, giving about $3 million to Ohio political campaigns in 2018, according to data from the National Institute on Money in Politics.
The industry interests have long been active politically. But just as competitive markets began coming into their own around 2010, the pattern of campaign contributions also shifted.
Donations to Ohio campaigns from the utility, nuclear and coal industries in 2010 were more than double the amount for 2008. Election cycles after 2010 saw a gradual drop-off in recorded donations, followed by a smaller bump in 2018. That doesn’t necessarily mean the industries’ total spending went down, however.
“Lots and lots of things changed simply because of Citizens United,” explained Catherine Turcer, executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Ohio.