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2019R1 HB 2714

This bill enacts limits on campaign contributions that may be accepted by candidates and political committees.

Personal Choice and Responsibility
An individual, a multicandidate political committee, the principal campaign committee of a candidate or a recall political committee may not accept aggregate contributions in excess of $1,000 for state Representative candidate, $1,500 for state Senator or circuit court judge, $2,800 for other state offices. Limits small donor political committee to accepting no more than an aggregate of $250 per individual. Diminishes the impact of independent voices to exempt groups.

Limited Government
Campaign contributions and expenditures are forms of expression protected by Article I, section 8 of the Oregon Constitution and may not be limited. Vannatta v. Keisling, 324 Or. 514 (1997); see also Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) (Campaign expenditures protected by First Amendment to United States Constitution). Disclosure requirements, on the other hand, do no necessarily offend the state or federal constitution. State v. Moyer, 348 Or. 220 (2010); Buckley. As a result, current Oregon law does not limit campaign contributions or expenditures, but does require that they be disclosed via ORESTAR. HB 2714A requires political committee to identify as caucus, measure, multicandidate, political party, recall or small donor political committee. Prohibits person from controlling more than one of each committee. Authorizes Secretary of State and Attorney General to require return of contribution excess of limits and impose civil penalty up to 150% of total amount of contribution. Repeals Ballot Measure 47 (2006), currently held in abeyance, which establishes limits on political campaign contributions and independent expenditures on candidate races and establishes certain campaign finance disclosure requirements. Discriminates based on the content of a potential donor's message, creating winners and losers. Exempts some groups based on their advocacy goals, which will further exacerbate political polarization by enabling certain groups of activists to have unlimited ability to influence elections while others are subject to the limits. Gives more power to political parties by exempting contributions by organized political parties and party caucuses.

Free Markets
HB 2714A gives unfair advantage to public employee unions by exempting small donor PACs, which are uniquely positioned to grow and unions will be able to make unlimited contributions to candidates while other interest groups will be limited to $2,800. Increases the use of dark money by forcing organizations subject to the campaign limits to turn to the use of less regulated independent expenditures as a response to the unlimited campaign spending by those groups that are exempted.

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