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Multnomah County Charter Review Committee Sends Campaign Finance Reform Measure to November Ballot
Submitted by info on Fri, 07/08/2016 - 01:57
Measure would limit campaign contributions in Multnomah County candidate races and require that political ads disclose their largest funders
The Multnomah County Charter Review Committee (MCCRC) on July 6 voted to send to the voters a measure to limit political campaign contributions in Multnomah County candidate races and require that political ads in those races disclose their largest funders.
The Charter Review Committee is a special board of up to 15 persons, assembled once every 6 years, that has authority to place measures on the November ballot (pursuant to Section 12.70 of the Charter). A MCCRC Subcommittee unanimously adopted and forwarded to the full Committee a measure to enact limits on political campaign contributions in Multnomah County elections, similar to those adopted last year in Seattle, and to require that political advertisements identify their true largest sources of funding.
The full text of the proposal, the Subcommittee's report, and a 2-page summary, and other memoranda are at http://mccrc.fairelection.org.
The measure was developed by a subcommittee consisting of Juan Carlos Ordonez, Moses Ross, Elizabeth Trojan, and Jon Vandermosten. It was supported before the full Committee by testimony of many local concerned citizens, including:
Aram Andriesian of Represent.us Portland Chapter
Brad Avakian, candidate for Secretary of State
Maigen Bergio of Portland Forward
Ron Buel, founder of Willamette Week
David Delk of the Alliance for Democracy
Barbara Dudley of the Working Families Party
Kristen Eberhard of Sightline Institute
Jason Kafoury of the Oregon Progressive Party
Hugh McGavick, attorney
Dan Meek, attorney
Sharon Meiran, candidate for Multnomah County Commission
James Ofsink, candidate for Oregon State Senate
Jim Robison, former chair of Multnomah County Democratic Party
Need for Campaign Finance Reform Here
The State Integrity Investigation of the Center for Public Integrity in November 2015 graded Oregon an overall "F" in systems to avoid government corruption and a severe "F" on campaign finance reform, ranking Oregon 49th worst out of 50 states in control of "Political Financing" (beating only Mississippi). Oregon candidate races are among the most expensive per capita in America, which is allowed by the lack of limits on political contributions here.
The amount spent on political campaigns in Oregon has increased 10-fold over the past 20 years.
"Limiting campaign contribution to the reasonable level of $500 per person per candidate would restore balance to the system and not require the candidates to engage in an `arms race' for unlimited contributions from corporations, unions, and the wealthy," said subcommittee member Elizabeth Trojan. "This measure would put in place the same limits that apply in Seattle. Several places have lower limits, including Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, and Montana."
Oregon law required every political advertisement to identify its source, until the Oregon Legislature repealed it in 2001. This measure would restore that requirement for Multnomah County candidate races it and also require that each advertisement funded by political committees or "independent expenditures" to list its "five largest true original sources" of funding. Similar laws are in place in California, Washington, Connecticut, and Maine.