May 4, 2020 •

No Limits on Campaign Contributions in Oregon

Oregon Senate Chamber

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 […]

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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April 29, 2020 •

Portland Will Start Enforcing Campaign Contribution Limits

Portland Skyline

In the wake of an Oregon Supreme Court ruling last week overturning long standing precedents declaring campaign contribution limits in Oregon elections unconstitutional, Portland will enforce a voter approved $500 per donor limit starting Monday. The court ruled that contribution […]

In the wake of an Oregon Supreme Court ruling last week overturning long standing precedents declaring campaign contribution limits in Oregon elections unconstitutional, Portland will enforce a voter approved $500 per donor limit starting Monday.

The court ruled that contribution limits do not violate free speech.

However, they asked lower courts to decide if $500 per donor limits, approved first by Multnomah County voters and then by Portland voters, are too low.

Portland city election officials say they’ll begin enforcing the contribution limits after the Oregon Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a Multnomah County Circuit judge’s decision declaring campaign contribution limits in city elections unconstitutional.

However, election officials will not retroactively enforce the limits. Candidates who violate the new donation limits will face fines of up to $3,000 per violation.

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April 23, 2020 •

Oregon Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Campaign Contribution Limits

Oregon State Capitol Building

The Oregon Supreme Court, reversing its longstanding ban on strict campaign finance limits, ruled in favor of a voter approved Multnomah County law putting a $500 limit on campaign donations. The court concluded contribution limits are not invalid under the state […]

The Oregon Supreme Court, reversing its longstanding ban on strict campaign finance limits, ruled in favor of a voter approved Multnomah County law putting a $500 limit on campaign donations.

The court concluded contribution limits are not invalid under the state constitution.

The case has been sent back to a lower court to decide whether Multnomah County’s dollar limits themselves are too low, while tossing out the limits Multnomah County voters set on campaign expenditures.

The ruling could lead to new campaign finance limits throughout the state.

Oregon voters will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment this fall allowing limits on the flow of big money into political campaigns.

Oregon has been one of only a handful of states in the country with no limits on political donations and spending.

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April 10, 2020 •

FPPC Offers Guidance on Lobbying Filing Deadlines in Wake of COVID-19

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has issued an advisory encouraging people subject to lobbying registration and reporting requirements to continue to make the best efforts to timely file all legally required reports and statements. However, it may be […]

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has issued an advisory encouraging people subject to lobbying registration and reporting requirements to continue to make the best efforts to timely file all legally required reports and statements.

However, it may be difficult for some to file statements and reports given the shelter-in-place order and other issues caused by the pandemic.

If circumstances caused by COVID-19 inhibit the filing of a lobbying report or statement, the filer should communicate these issues to the Office of the Secretary of State and document all attempts to file and the issues faced.

While quarterly lobbying reports are filed electronically, the law requires certain other statements be filed on paper with an original signature.

Restrictions imposed to fight the spread of COVID-19 may make the logistics of filing documents on paper with original signatures difficult or even impossible.

To the extent this is the case, people required to file lobbying forms on paper with original signatures are encouraged to make use of digital and electronic options for filing reports to ensure timely filing.

Paper statements with original signatures will need to be filed when feasible.

If a person with lobbying filing requirements makes best efforts to comply with the Political Reform Act’s lobbying registration and reporting rules but is unable to do so due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FPPC will consider this a strong mitigating factor in determining whether an enforcement action against the person is appropriate.

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April 7, 2020 •

Portland Auditor Extends Lobbyist Filing Deadline

Portland Skyline

The Portland Auditor has temporarily suspended enforcement of lobbying and political consultant reporting requirements for first quarter reports due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The deadline for lobbyist reports covering activity for the period of January 1 to March 31 is […]

The Portland Auditor has temporarily suspended enforcement of lobbying and political consultant reporting requirements for first quarter reports due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The deadline for lobbyist reports covering activity for the period of January 1 to March 31 is extended until June 15.

The auditor’s office will not assess late fees or penalties for failure to:

    • File quarterly reports
    • Submit required updated information
    • Register as a lobbyist or political consultant

Lobbying entities, political consultants, and city officials are encouraged to file reports when they are able to do so.

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April 6, 2020 •

California Legislature Extends Recess to May 4

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California State Capitol Building - Jeff Turner

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state. The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May […]

The California Legislature pushed back a scheduled return to the legislative session by three weeks to give public health officials more time to deal with the coronavirus spreading through the state.

The Legislature now is scheduled to reconvene on May 4.

Lawmakers had voted unanimously on March 16 to suspend its session until April 13.

The initial decision last month to suspend activities at the state Capitol was unprecedented in California history.

The decision came after legislators grappled for several days to balance public health concerns with the need for action to address the impact of the pandemic.

Both houses quickly passed a $1 billion relief plan on March 16 before putting a halt to all legislative business.

Whether a return in early May will be possible could depend on the state’s success or failure this month in slowing the rate of infection.

Early spring is traditionally one of the busiest times of the year for the Legislature, with hundreds of bills considered by policy committees before receiving final votes in either of the two houses by May 31.

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April 6, 2020 •

FPPC Interested Persons Meeting; Disclosure of Political Activity by LLC’s

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) staff will hold an interested persons meeting on Monday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m. The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public input regarding legislative and regulatory proposals to enhance disclosure of political activity […]

Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) staff will hold an interested persons meeting on Monday, April 20, at 10:00 a.m.

The purpose of the meeting is to solicit public input regarding legislative and regulatory proposals to enhance disclosure of political activity by limited liability companies (LLCs) in California elections.

Current law enables LLCs to make contributions or independent expenditures solely in the name of the LLC without disclosing any information, or even a way to determine, the source of the funds expended by the LLC and individuals responsible for operating the LLC.

The FPPC is interested in increasing the amount of information available to the public concerning political activity by LLCs.

Regulatory proposals will be considered for adoption or amendment on or after the May 21 meeting.

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April 3, 2020 •

Justices Decline Challenge to Seattle Democracy Vouchers

U.S. Supreme Court Building

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns. The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, […]

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns.

The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, through their tax dollars, to support candidates they don’t like.

In 2015, Seattle voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in order to receive four $25 vouchers they can donate to participating candidates in city elections.

The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the voucher program last year.

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April 3, 2020 •

Idaho’s May Primary Election Won’t Be Delayed, Deadline for Absentee Ballots Pushed Back

Idaho Capitol Building - JSquish

Idaho Gov. Brad Little won’t delay the May 19 primary election, but the election will now be all-absentee due to the risk from coronavirus. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots to June 2. […]

Idaho Gov. Brad Little won’t delay the May 19 primary election, but the election will now be all-absentee due to the risk from coronavirus.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney has extended the deadline to submit absentee ballots to June 2.

Idahoans will be able register to vote and request an absentee ballot up until 8 p.m. on May 19.

The extension pushes back voters’ deadline to submit ballots to county clerks to 8 p.m. on June 2.

Normally that deadline would have been 8 p.m. May 19.

The Office of the Secretary of State will be sending out absentee ballot requests to every registered voter who has not already requested one.

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April 2, 2020 •

Wyoming Democrats Change Mail-In Date for Caucus

Wyoming Capitol

Wyoming Capitol - By Bradlyons - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

The Democratic Party has canceled all county conventions and the in-person portion of its upcoming caucus over increasing concerns around the coronavirus outbreak. All Wyoming Democrats registered by March 20 were automatically sent a ballot in the mail, to the […]

The Democratic Party has canceled all county conventions and the in-person portion of its upcoming caucus over increasing concerns around the coronavirus outbreak.

All Wyoming Democrats registered by March 20 were automatically sent a ballot in the mail, to the address on their voter registration.

The deadline to request a replacement ballot was March 31.

Ballots must be mailed back to the Wyoming Democratic Party (postage paid envelope is included) and received by April 17.

Ballots received after April 17 will not be tabulated.

Caucus results will be released as soon as possible.

Counties will hold delegate elections and conventions electronically, no later than May 24.

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March 27, 2020 •

Nevada to Conduct All Voting in Primary Election by Mail

Nevada State Capitol Octagonal Annex

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske announced plans to conduct an all-mail election for the June 9, 2020 primary election. All active registered voters in Nevada will be mailed an absentee ballot for the primary election. Voters will be able to […]

Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske announced plans to conduct an all-mail election for the June 9, 2020 primary election.

All active registered voters in Nevada will be mailed an absentee ballot for the primary election.

Voters will be able to mark their ballot at home and then return it by mail using a postage-prepaid envelope.

Voters can also drop off a ballot in person at a designated county location.

This announcement applies only to the June 9, 2020 primary election.

In order to accommodate same-day voter registration, as well as assist voters who have issues with the ballot mailed to them, at least one in-person polling location will be available in each county.

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March 27, 2020 •

Montana Governor Allowing Counties to Conduct Upcoming Elections by Mail

Montana Capitol Building

Montana Capitol Building - gillfoto

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive on Wednesday authorizing counties to conduct upcoming elections entirely by mail. The directive allows counties to decide whether to adopt a mail ballot for the June primary election. Montanans are still permitted to vote […]

Gov. Steve Bullock issued a directive on Wednesday authorizing counties to conduct upcoming elections entirely by mail.

The directive allows counties to decide whether to adopt a mail ballot for the June primary election.

Montanans are still permitted to vote in person during the 30-day voting window, even if they have received a mail ballot.

If counties choose to participate in mail voting for the June primary, they must submit plans to do so.

Mail ballots would be released on May 8 and early voting would be available in person through the close of the primary election on June 2.

Voters will not be required to pay postage to return their ballots by mail.

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March 27, 2020 •

Washington Governor Signs Political Contribution Bill

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Washington State Capitol Building - Cacophony

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections. Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental […]

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill concerning certification of the level of foreign national ownership for corporations participating in state elections.

Senate Bill 6152 requires a certification from each corporation making a contribution to the candidate, political committee, or incidental committee stating the corporation’s ownership comprises less than 50% foreign nationals.

The bill becomes effective June 11, 2020.

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March 27, 2020 •

California FPPC Extending Form 700 Deadline

Sacramento, CA Skyline - Basil D Soufi

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is allowing a 60-day extension for those required to file a 2019 annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700). This two-month extension means forms normally due on April […]

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is allowing a 60-day extension for those required to file a 2019 annual Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700).

This two-month extension means forms normally due on April 1, 2020, will be accepted by the FPPC as timely until June 1.

The extension will apply to all officials required to file in April.

The FPPC intends to formally ratify this extension at its April 2 special meeting.

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