Ohio passed its public ethics law in 1973. The law applies to all public officials and employees at every level of government in Ohio, and those who do business with them.

An estimated 18,700 elected office holders and 590,000 public employees are subject to the law.1 The ethics law protect against unethical conduct relative to public contracts, revolving doors, confidentiality, representation, conflict of interest and supplemental compensation. Learn more.

Ethics of legislative officials in Ohio

The Ohio House and Senate members in each General Assembly adopt a Legislative Code of Ethics to govern themselves and employees of both chambers of that General Assembly, employees of any legislative agency, and candidates for the next General Assembly. The Code addresses conduct, financial disclosure, abstention from voting, compensation, confidential information, improper influence, staff use, separation of funds, honoraria and testimonials, improper inducement, advisory opinions and hearing complaints. Learn more.

Media’s role in local public affairs and political accountability

Current FCC laws and rules provide:

Broadcasts by Candidates for Public Office: When a qualified candidate for public office has been permitted to use a station, the Communications Act requires the station to “afford equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office.” The Act also states that the station “shall have no power of censorship over the material broadcast” by the candidate. Neither of the following two categories are considered a “use” that is covered by this rule:

  • An appearance by a legally qualified candidate on a bona fide newscast, interview or documentary (if the appearance of the candidate is incidental to the presentation of the subject covered by the documentary); or
  • On-the-spot coverage of a bona fide news event (including political conventions and related incidental activities)

Political Editorials: Within 24 hours of airing an editorial where the station itself either supports or opposes a candidate for public office, it must transmit the following three things to the other qualified candidate(s) for the same office or to the candidate who was opposed in the editorial: (1) notification of the date and the time of the editorial; (2) a script or tape of the editorial; and (3) an offer of a reasonable opportunity for the candidate or a spokesperson for the candidate to respond on the air. Learn more.

If a broadcaster offers to sell time to political candidates, the broadcaster has a statutory obligation to charge political candidates the “lowest unit charge of the station” for the “same class and amount of time for the same period” during the 45 days preceding a primary or run-off election and the 60 days preceding a general or special election.