No Limits on Campaign Contributions in Oregon - State and Federal Communications

May 4, 2020  •  

No Limits on Campaign Contributions in Oregon

Oregon Senate Chamber - photo by Cacophony

Oregon political candidates in legislative and statewide races can continue to accept contributions vastly exceeding the caps voters approved in 2006.

Secretary of State Bev Clarno announced on Friday she would not allow the 2006 voter approved initiative.

The initiative placed a $1,000 limit on donations to statewide candidates and a $100 limit on contributions to legislative candidates.

Clarno’s office released a statement communicating Measure 47 from 2006 was not made operative by the Oregon Supreme Court decision.

Therefore, there is no change in current state election laws.

Clarno’s decision was based off of a verbal opinion from the Department of Justice.

Also, Multnomah County Circuit Judge Thomas Ryan ruled Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s campaign did not need to limit spending.

The ruling came after a suit filed by Wheeler’s main opponent questioning his use of contributions.

Portland mayoral candidate Sarah Iannarone had joined several campaign finance activists in a lawsuit against Wheeler’s campaign.

The lawsuit contends the mayor must repay all the donations he’s received surpassing the $500 campaign finance limit approved by Portland voters in 2018 but never enforced due to legal challenges.

After last week’s Supreme Court ruling, the city auditor’s office will begin enforcing Portland’s campaign finance measure starting today.

However, candidates won’t be retroactively punished for taking large donations.

Portland Attorney Dan Meek said he would ask the state Supreme Court to reconsider its April decision to make it clear Measure 47 should go into effect immediately.

In November, voters will decide on a proposed state constitutional amendment making it clear the state could adopt any limits allowed under the U.S. Constitution.

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