I want to give money to Tina Kotek in the gubernatorial race because Betsy Johnson is an armed narcissist and Christine Drazan is a mean Trump lapdog. How much money can I donate directly to Kotek’s campaign under state campaign finance laws? -Very worried
Hey America! Tired of being harassed by The Man for smoking weed, possessing 4 ounces of hard drugs for personal use, or giving your favorite candidates suspiciously large sums of unregulated money? Come to oh-so-permissive Oregon, the Las Vegas of everything but gambling, and unwind! (We also have gambling.)
How much money can you give to Tina Kotek or another candidate for state office in Oregon? How much do you have? Oregon is one of only five states, along with Alabama, Nebraska, Utah and Virginia, that has no cap on campaign contributions from any source. (Five others* allow unlimited donations from individuals but restrict those from corporations, unions, political action committees, etc.)
Even if you can only donate $2,900 per cycle to a presidential campaign, you could give $7 million if you wanted to donate to an unnamed Oregon legislature candidate. (You could give more; I just picked $7 million because it would buy every voter in a State House district a Strip-O-Gram.)
How did it come to be that dyed Oregon ended up on Texas’ right in campaign finance? The extraordinarily broad freedom of speech clause in our state constitution (or at least one interpretation of it) was a factor. In the 1997s Vanatta v. Keisling13 years ago citizens united, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled that massive campaign contributions are a protected form of free speech, like nude pole dancing. It would be unconstitutional, the judges said, for the state to impose restrictions (or pies) on them, even on really big ones.
However, the court recently turned its head, ruling in 2020 that campaign finance restrictions passed by voters in Multnomah County in 2016 were not necessarily unconstitutional. This could open the door to statewide borders so we can finally get the dirty money out of Oregon politics and put it back into Oregon journalism where it belongs.
*For those counting at home: Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Questions? send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://www.wweek.com/news/dr-know/2022/09/07/how-much-money-can-you-give-to-a-campaign-for-oregon-governor/ How much money can you give to a campaign for Oregon governor?