State Integrity Investigation gives Oregon an F

The long-standing State Integrity Investigation of the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International has granted Oregon an overall F grade on avoiding corruption in state government.

The ranking is accompanied by a scathing, accurate article about Oregon's failure in fighting corruption.

Oregon's overall rank fell from 14th to 42nd, the biggest drop of any state.

We have been saying for years that Oregon's lack of limits on political contributions and repeal of laws requiring that political ads identify their funders makes Oregon government inherently corruptible. Now the leading national investigation of State integrity agrees with us.

Oregon at Bottom in Fighting Corruption

We are very different from the establishment parties.

  Dem Rep PROG
Real campaign finance reform, particularly in Oregon NO NO YES
"Medicare for All" comprehensive health care NO NO YES
Oppose cuts in Social Security & Medicare benefits NO NO YES
Increase minimum wage to $15 or more NOW in all of Oregon NO NO YES
Employment for All (public works projects, WPA style) NO NO YES
Increase income taxes on big corporations and the wealthy NO NO YES
Oppose Wall Street bailouts NO NO YES
Repair, improve infrastructure (transportation, water systems, etc.) NO NO YES
Oppose NAFTA, WTO, Trans-Pacific Partnership "free trade" deals; support local products & services NO NO YES
Oppose war in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan; bring troops home now and stop sending in more NO NO YES
Slash military spending and foreign bases NO NO YES
End occupation of Palestine NO NO YES
Oppose spying on Americans, including drones NO NO YES
Equal rights for all; same-sex marriage NUVR NO YES
Clean energy; stop nuclear subsidies NO NO YES
Oppose shipping fossil fuels for export from Pacific Northwest ports NO NO YES
Oppose offshore oil & gas drilling, including the Artic NO NO YES
Legalize marijuana possession and use ??? NO YES
End “corporate personhood” and constitutional rights for corporations NO NO YES
Require labeling of genetically engineered food NO NO YES
End the U.S. Senate filibuster; restore majority rule NO NO YES
NUVR = not until very recently

 
OREGON ISSUES
1.     We have worked for real campaign finance reform. Oregon Democrats and Republicans have never enacted limits on political campaign contributions but have repealed voter-enacted limits 3 times. Democrats in state office are refusing to enforce the campaign finance reform Measure 47 enacted by Oregon voters in 2006. Campaign spending for Oregon state offices has skyrocketed from $4 million in 1996 to $57 million in 2010. Spending by candidates for Oregon Legislature increased another 13% in 2012. Winning a contested race for the Legislature now typically costs over $600,000, sometimes over $1 million.  

2.     The initiative and referendum should be available to grass-roots efforts. The Democrat Secretary of State is now discarding over 30% of all voter signatures on initiative petitions due to arbitrary, hyper-technical, and unnecessary rules, raising the cost of petition drives so high that only corporations, unions and the very wealthy can afford to use it.  

3.     The State Treasurer should direct part of Oregon's $87 billion of investment funds to invest in local public works and jobs for Oregonians instead of vulture capitalists, corporate raiders, leveraged buyout artists, and fossil fuel corporations and vendors.  

4.     We want fair taxation. Oregon has the 4th highest income taxes of any state on lower-income working families and is still at the bottom in taxes on corporations.  

5.     We want to stop government promotion of gambling, including video poker, video slots, and approval of private casinos.  

6.     We oppose installation of police "spy cameras" and use of drones to spy on Oregon citizens.  

7.     We oppose using public money to subsidize rail transport of oil or coal through Oregon communities.

OPP at 2015 Oregon Legislature

The Oregon Progressive Party is taking stands at the Oregon Legislature.

As bills are scheduled for committee hearing, we take our positions.  The Oregon Legislature's committees will not accept the submittal of testimony, until a bill is scheduled for committee hearing.  That requires any interested person to keep track of the schedules for dozens of committees.  This is not a good way to encourage public participation.

You can learn about these bills at the website of the Legislature. Go to https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2015R1 and click on Bills in the upper right area.  You can add your comments about these bills below.  You can click on OPP's Legislative Group to join it.

You can read our testimonies at Progressive Party Testimonies.

The table below shows bills we supported or opposed.  Bold means that the Legislature passed the bill, and the Governor signed it.

On the whole, the 2015 Legislature did nothing of signficance that we supported.  The 15 enacted bills we supported were not very consequential.

We Supported We Opposed
HB 2020
HB 2074
HB 2077
HB 2134
HB 2178B
HB 2272
HB 2237
HB 2315
HB 2336
HB 2447
HB 2448
HB 2489
HB 2559
HB 2600
HB 2627
HB 2638
HB 2704
HB 2790
HB 2791
HB 2850
HB 2940
HB 3043
HB 3193
HB 3194
HB 3225
HB 3250
HB 3252
HB 3262
HB 3287
HB 3297
HB 3331
HB 3349
HB 3415
HB 3470
HB 3478
HB 3505
HB 3551
HJM 4
SB 14
SB 118
SB 130
SB 190
SB 286
SB 294
SB 313
SB 314
SB 317
SB 330
SB 332
SB 375
SB 409
SB 415
SB 477
SB 575
SB 610
SB 631
SB 668
SB 673
SB 691
SB 710
SB 713
SB 732
SB 852
SB 853
SB 878
SB 911
SB 928
SB 940
SJR 4
SJR 5
HB 2058
HB 2158
HB 2178
HB 2892A
HB 3090
HB 3096
HB 3212
HB 3269
HB 3273
HB 3445
HB 3500
HJR 29
SB 75
SB 189
SB 292
SB 294
SB 521
SB 580
SB 611
SB 675
SB 814

Oregon Secretary of State Blocks Campaign Finance Reform Initiative Petition

In a stunning display of democracy suppression, this afternoon the Secretary of State of Oregon refused to issue a ballot title for Initiative Petition 77 for 2016, which would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow limits on political campaign contributions and expenditures and allow laws requiring disclosure of the true sources and amounts of such contributions or expenditures in the communications they fund.

The Secretary of State claims that the Initiative would constitute more than one "closely related" amendment to the Oregon Constitution. 

"When a similar contention was made against Measure 46 (2006), the Oregon Supreme Court rejected it in Meyer v. Bradbury (2006)," noted attorney Dan Meek.  "This decision now requires the chief petitioners of Initiative Petition engage in costly litigation to defend the right of the people to amend their own Constitution to achieve campaign finance reform."

Oregon voters Tuesday in Hood River County delivered a stunning defeat to Nestlé.

In the epic battle between Nestlé and people around the world to protect their access to water, little Hood River County in Oregon just achieved a major and unique victory. It's a win for the public water commons and the protection of water for nature. And Oregon Progressive Party was part of this victory having supported the initiative campaign.

Oregon Progressive Party Endorses More Candidates

In addition to its earlier endorsements of Brad Avakian for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State, Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for President, and David Schor for Mayor of Portland, the Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) has endorsed these candidates running in the May 17 primary election:

  • Julian Bell in the Democratic Party primary for Governor
  • Dave McTeague in Democratic Party primary for U.S. Rep District 5
  • Tawna Sanchez in the Democratic Party primary for House District 43
  • Walt Trandum in the Democratic Party primary for House District 52

"These candidates support policies that are consistent with the platform of the Oregon Progressive Party," said Liz Trojan, a member of the OPP State Council.

OPP Endorses David Schor for Mayor of Portland

The Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) has endorsed David Schor, running for Mayor of Portland in the May 17 primary election.
 
"All the mayoral candidates have acknowledged that affordable housing is a strong need in Portland," said Liz Trojan, a member of the OPP State Council. "Only David has identified a source of funds to deal with the problem – a tax on those who do not currently pay social security tax on their incomes over the annual income cap of $118,500 per person."
 
"We still suffer from the too-big-to-fail bank-induced Great Recession.  David is the only candidate running who speaks continuously to the need for a municipal bank," said OPP Chair David Delk.
 

Jason Kafoury, Secretary of OPP, said, “With David, we get a true progressive who understands that taking on real campaign finance reform and the massive income inequality in our community are the top priorities for our next mayor."

Oregon takes major step for transgender equality

I never expected to post an Oregonian article but good news needs to be shared. Transgendered youth in Oregon today received important protections from the Oregon Dept. of Education: Oregon lays out sweeping protections for transgender students

OPP Endorses Bernie Sanders in Democratic Party's Primary

The Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) has endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Oregon Democratic primary election to conclude on May 17.

"Bernie is clearly the most progressive candidate in the Democratic race," said Liz Trojan, a member of the OPP State Council.  "His stances on important issues are quite consistent with our platform."

Here is a summary of the Oregon Progressive Party's Platform

"Bernie is the only candidate in the Democratic Party's primary who is not dependent on big money from Wall Street, fossil fuel companies, drug companies, military contractors, and others who profit from human misery," said OPP Chair David Delk.

"Bernie has been a true progressive for decades and is actually still not a member of the Democratic Party," noted Jason Kafoury, Secretary of OPP.  "He has always been elected as non-affiliated with a political party, and Vermont has no party registration system at all."

Oregon Progressive Party members cannot vote in the Democratic primary, unless they change their registrations to Democratic.  Doing that, however, can jeopardize the continued existence of the Oregon Progressive Party, which needs to maintain a certain level of membership in order to be recognized as a political party under Oregon law.  "If you switch your registration to Democratic in order to vote for Bernie Sanders, please switch it back to "Progressive Party" after the May 17 primary," added Jason Kafoury.

OPP Endorses Brad Avakian in Sec. of State Primary

Avakian Endorses IP-77 Statewide Measure for Oregon Campaign Finance Constitutional Amendment

Brad Avakian, a candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Secretary of State of Oregon, has sought and received the endorsement of the Oregon Progressive Party (OPP) in the primary election.

Avakian has endorsed IP-77, a proposed statewide ballot measure that would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow limits on campaign contributions and expenditures and mandatory “taglines” on political advertisements, identifying their major funders.

While Oregon has the same "free speech" clause as 36 other states, the Oregon Supreme Court is the only state court anywhere in America that has concluded that it somehow prevents governments from adopting limits on political contributions. Further, the Oregon Legislature's attorney ("Legislative Counsel) last year called into question whether requiring political ads to identify their funders is somehow also negated by the same "free speech" clause -- again a unique interpretation. Eight states already require political ads to list their major funders, including California and Washington.

"Among the Democratic candidates, Brad Avakian is most attuned to the value of minor parties and the competition they provide for the Democrats and Republicans," said Jason Kafoury, Secretary of the Oregon Progressive Party. "He is also the only one who has endorsed IP-77, and that is very important to us."

Oregon Progressive Party members cannot vote in the Democratic primary, unless they change their registrations to Democratic by April 26. Doing that, however, can jeopardize the continued existence of the Oregon Progressive Party, which needs to maintain a certain level of membership in order to be recognized as a political party under Oregon law. "If you switch your registration to Democratic in order to vote for Bernie Sanders, please switch it back to Progressive Party after the May 17 primary," added David Delk, Chair of OPP.

OPP Supports Democracy Spring!

OPP Spokesmodel Published Article on How Trump Will Not be President

Counterpunch on March 1 published an article by Dan Meek on why Donald Trump will not be President. The Republican Convention can deny him the nomination, even if he enters the convention with what he thinks is a majority of the delegates. Recall that the 1968 Democratic Convention nominated a candidate who had received exactly zero votes in the primaries (Hubert Humphrey), as the police rioted outside the convention hall in Chicago.  And by the time of the convention, it will be too late for Trump to get on state ballots as a non-affiliated candidate.  If he were smart, he would start gathering the necessary signatures now.

Rubio Also Feeds Off of Phony Colleges

In the debate yesterday, Marco Rubio noted the 3 lawsuits for fraud against Trump University. "TU" was a "private college" that existed for 5 years (2005-10) and enrolled about 10,000 students over that period.

What Trump did not know, however, is that Rubio has been the spokesmodel for the phony private college industry, receiving large campaign contributions (over $27,000) from executives of Corinthian College and others, and intervening with the U.S. Department of Education to stop the Department from sanctioning those private colleges. As Bloomberg News reported (April 29, 2015):

Last summer, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida asked the U.S. Department of Education to "demonstrate leniency" toward Corinthian Colleges by permitting the wealthy for-profit company to continue accessing millions of dollars in federal financial aid while it was cooperating with a federal investigation.

Ten months later, the company shuttered its remaining 28 campuses, instantly displacing some 16,000 students just days after it was fined $30 million by the Department of Education for a scheme involving "confirmed cases of misrepresentation of job placement rates" for as many as 947 students. The decision to close shop came after years of federal and state investigations into the company.

So, while Trump no doubt obtained money by selling his name to "Trump University," Rubio has been the henchman for phony private colleges.  The pot and the kettle come to mind here.