Oregon Lawmakers Consider Capping Campaign Contributions - State and Federal Communications

November 21, 2019  •  

Oregon Lawmakers Consider Capping Campaign Contributions

Oregon State Capitol Building

At a meeting of the Senate Campaign Finance Committee, Sen. Jeff Golden proposed new regulations that would place ceilings on the amount of money individuals and various types of political committees could give to candidates, campaigns, and one another.

Oregon is currently one of only a few states that has no campaign contribution limits.

Under this new proposal, individual donors would be limited to giving $2,000 per election for statewide races and $750 per election for House and Senate races.

Those same restrictions would apply to candidates contributing to other campaigns and multi-candidate committees, which would be similar to current special-interest PACs.

State political parties and committees associated with party members in the House or Senate could contribute up to $40,000 per election to statewide candidates and $15,000 per election to legislative candidates.

The same limits would also be applied to new small-donor committees. In exchange for being able to donate larger sums, those committees could only support a single candidate for a single election.

The committees could accept no more than $200 per election from individuals and many PACs.

In November 2020, Oregon voters will decide whether to modify the state’s constitution to explicitly allow campaign finance limits.

The Oregon Supreme Court is also considering whether to overturn a two-decade-old decision that struck down the state’s voter-approved campaign finance limits.

The court is considering the constitutionality of a 2016 ordinance passed by Multnomah County voters that places a $500 per person limit on campaign donations.

Given all that, lawmakers hope to have a framework ready should the legal landscape shift.

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