Campaign Finance Reform enjoys broad support in Oregon, in both Rural and Urban communities
Now that the dust has settled on the 2022 election, the Pacific Green Party urges Governor Tina Kotek and elected representatives to deliver on the promise to advance campaign finance reform. Over 78% of Oregonians voted in favor of campaign finance reform in 2020, establishing a mandate for reform. “The undue influence of money in elections is an issue with broad support, both in rural and urban communities,” points out Nathalie Paravicini, former candidate for Oregon governor.
Paravicini withdrew from the race for personal reasons, but not before getting a commitment from Kotek to support campaign finance legislation in the 2023 legislative session. While it is unknowable what effect a Green Party candidate for Governor would have had on final results, Kotek did make campaign finance reform one of her top priorities.
Oregonians voted by a 78% majority in 2020 for a ballot initiative that amended the state’s constitution to allow for campaign finance limits. Since then, consecutive legislatures have failed to pass implementing legislation. Oregon is one of the only states in the union with absolutely no regulations.
The 2022 electoral cycle saw a record for the amount of money spent on elections. More than $59 million was raised for the gubernatorial race alone. In Congressional District 10, for example, total votes for that race was 51,614 with combined spending over $4M - $79/vote!! Aside from a few millionaires in Oregon, most of the money came from outside the state.
It remains to be seen how the 2023 legislative session will play out. The Pacific Green Party will rally its membership to stand vigil and insist on meaningful campaign finance reform, including: 1) meaningful limits of money coming in and out of campaigns, 2) meaningful disclosure of independent expenditures (the so-called Dark Money ads), and 3) public matching funds for grassroots campaigns.
“We will be continuing the pressure in 2023,” said Paravicini. “Tina promised. Pacific Greens and the Honest Elections coalition will be expecting Governor Kotek to honor its pledge to give Oregon campaign finance legislation. Because of the uncertainty surrounding the implementation of effective legislation, we will continue our work to place a campaign Finance Reform measure on the 2024 ballot”