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Coalition files ballot initiatives to reform Oregon's campaign finance laws

KATU Portland logo KATU Portland 12/8/2021 KATU Staff
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A coalition of campaign-finance-reform-minded groups have filed three ballot initiatives with the secretary of state’s office that they want to put before Oregon voters next year.

Honest Elections Oregon says its initiatives will help reduce the “perception and reality of corruption” in campaigns, increase transparency and elevate more voices in elections.

The coalition’s push for voters to have a voice on campaign finance reform comes after the Legislature earlier this year failed to pass bills that would have limited contributions to campaigns and create a small donor program.

The three initiatives filed Monday would do those two things, as well as require political ads to be transparent about who is funding them.

“I am proud of the measures we have filed and the extensive process we embarked on to craft the best policies possible with both local and national experts," said Jason Kafoury with Honest Elections Oregon. "We hope in the coming months, during the ballot title review process, to continue building a big tent to support these measures and to continue to work with historically marginalized communities."

He added the initiatives "could move Oregon from the Wild Wild West of campaign finance to leading the way with one the best programs in the nation.”

Oregon is one of five states that doesn’t have any limits on campaign contributions.

Oregon voters in November 2020 approved Measure 107, which amended the state Constitution to allow limits to political contributions.

Read the text of the initiatives

The initiatives, as filed by Honest Elections, include things like limiting individual contributions to candidates running for statewide office to $2,000 per election cycle, limiting contributions from multicandidate committees to $2,000 per election cycle and limiting political party contributions to $50,000 per election cycle.

One of the initiatives also includes creating a public funding system for those running for state office and positions of judge and district attorney, where donations would be matched with public funds.

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