Taxpayers Association of Oregon
The idea of campaign finance reform is being abused in Oregon. Measure 107, an amendment to our State Constitution, has the power to makes things much worse as it would allow politicians the power to limit people’s ability to participate in elections with their donations.
Here’s five current and upcoming problems of campaign finance reform:
1. Public tax dollars fund politicians campaign pockets: Portland dumped millions of public tax dollars into politicians’ personal political campaigns (negative ads, spam emails, campaign legal bills over intern affair?) Campaign finance laws limit our ability to donate to candidates we like, while using our own tax dollars to support the candidates we don’t like. It’s perverse.
2. Corporate welfare. $20 million of Oregon tax dollars went to Hollywood style film corporations. $50 million in tax benefits went to build a private luxury Hyatt hotel in Portland. This should be illegal! Don’t LIMIT the people’s ability to donate to politics until you stop politicians from siphoning tax dollars to fund private corporations (who in turn donate to their campaigns).
3. Rigged system favoring the rich: The Supreme Court ruled there can be no limits on how much a person donates to their own campaign. So, a billionaire candidate can drop millions into his own campaign while middle-class candidates can be restricted to political donations from others that are maxed out at $100/$500 limits. Future contributions limits must not be too small otherwise you make it impossible for middle class candidates to compete against rich candidates.
4. Invading our privacy. Oregon law requires that if you make a small $100 donation you must surrender your (1) name (2) home address (3) name of where you work (4) location of your work (5) your job title. It goes into a public database called ORESTAR. It’s available on the internet for any stalker, predator, ex-lover and spam marketer to find you. Future laws should treat small donors with respect and basic privacy safeguards, not like criminals on a sex offender registry.
5. Unfair advantage to incumbents: Incumbent politicians have basically a 90% re-election rate. When campaign finance reform laws limit people’s ability to donate to candidates it makes it harder for challenger candidates to over-come the built in advantages, free press, name ID, and taxpayer funded staff operations of a sitting incumbent politician. This is why ideas like term limits are more effective at introducing new voices and new faces into government than simply passing laws blocking people from participating financially to their favorite candidate.
As Oregon experiments with future campaign laws made possible by passing #107 please remember these warnings.
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