Contribution caps headed for Portland ballot
A measure to adopt contribution limits for candidates for city of Portland elections has narrowly squeaked onto the November ballot.
Called the "Fair Elections/Clean Governance Charter Amendment," the initiative could cap contributions and expenditures in campaigns, while requiring increased disclosure of campaign funding and allowing payroll deductions.
The initiative required 34,156 legitimate signatures to qualify. But while petitioners turned in 55,194, only 34,227 were deemed qualified using the county's statistical sampling method.
The city measure is similar to one approved by nearly 89 percent of Multnomah County voters in 2016.
Jason Kafoury, one of the organizers with the group behind the measure, Honest Elections Portland, said he expects a similar outcome in city limits. "Unless there's organized opposition, I think it's going to sail right though," he said.
The county measure, intended to challenge higher-court rulings, has been wrapped up in court after a lower court ruled against it. The campaign reformers and Multnomah County have filed a notice of appeal in that case.
The city measure would:
• Prohibit contributions by corporations and other entities to candidates
• Limit candidate to receiving contributions from any individual and political committee to $500
• Allow formation of Small Donor Committees (SDC) that may only accept contributions of $100 or less per person per year
• Allow SDCs to contribute any amounts to candidate races and spend any amount on independent expenditures
• Limit individual independent expenditures in any race to $5,000 per year
• Limit political committee independent expenditures per race to $10,000 per year, and require they be funded by contributions from individuals of $500 or less
• Require the five largest contributors (of $500 or more) be listed on political advertisements, with the same requirement for ads funded by independent expenditures
The Portland initiative is supported by the Oregon Progressive Party, the Pacific Green Party, the Multnomah Democratic Party, the Independent Party of Oregon, Physicians for Social Responsibility, 350PDX, Bernie PDX, Move to Amend, Portland Clean Air, the Alliance for Democracy, and others.
In July, Mayor Ted Wheeler said he had not yet had a chance to review the measure thoroughly, though he expressed support for contribution limits in general.