Campaign Finance Reform in Oregon

For many in the climate activist arena, it has long been a toss up as to whether our primary concern should be climate action or campaign finance reform since it is always difficult to achieve legislative success when so many legislators owe their electoral success to funds from fossil fuel corporations.

It may be difficult to believe, but Oregon’s campaign finance rules (or lack thereof) make us 49th of the 50 states in restricting campaign funding. Fortunately, Honest Elections Oregon is attempting to remedy this through a ballot measure targeting the 2024 General Election. They had two Petition Initiatives 8 and 9,  but are now focusing on the latter and seeking the 160,000 signature necessary to get it on the ballot.

You may be surprised to learn that campaign contributions are excluded from bribery restrictions in Oregon.

The Main components of this Initiative are:

1.     Contribution Limits

  • Limits contributions to candidates, political committees (“PACs”) and political parties to support or oppose any candidate for state or local government office
  • Bans such contributions by for-profit corporations
  • Individuals and political committees (“PACs”) may contribute:
    • $2,000 to candidate for statewide office
    • $1,000 to candidate for any other state office
    • $500 to candidate for local government office
  • Small Donor Committees, funded only by contributions of $250 per year or less from individuals, may contribute:
    • $20,000 to candidate for statewide office
    • $10,000 to candidate for any other state office
    • $5,000 to candidate for local government office
  • Prohibits any person or entity from creating or controlling multiple entities for purposes of increasing allowable contributions

2.     Shining a Light on Dark Money

  • Requires campaigns, including dark money groups, to name their largest 4 funders in their ads
  • Makes large campaign spenders and contributors reveal the true original sources of the funds
  • Requires faster public disclosure of large contributions and independent expenditures

3.     Other Provisions

  • Removes exception in Oregon bribery laws that legalizes bribery with campaign contributions.
  • Limits candidates’ carry-over of funds from one election to another, so incumbents cannot amass war chests of money that discourage other candidates.
  • Requires more campaign finance information in printed and online Voters’ Pamphlets.
  • Increases penalties for campaign finance violations.
  • Modifies system for enforcement of campaign finance violations so that final decisions (including “no violation” decisions) are not made by partisan elected officials without judicial review.

If you are interested in supporting this effort by add your signature to the petition initiative, please download the form, sign as instructed, and mail as directed.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *