campaign finance

State Integrity Investigation gives Oregon an F

The long-standing State Integrity Investigation of the Center for Public Integrity and Public Radio International has granted Oregon an overall F grade on avoiding corruption in state government.

The ranking is accompanied by a scathing, accurate article about Oregon's failure in fighting corruption.

Oregon's overall rank fell from 14th to 42nd, the biggest drop of any state.

We have been saying for years that Oregon's lack of limits on political contributions and repeal of laws requiring that political ads identify their funders makes Oregon government inherently corruptible.  Now the leading national investigation of State integrity agrees with us.

Oregon at Bottom in Fighting Corruption


OPP calls for 28th Constitutional Amendment: Corporations are not people and money is not speech

The Oregon Progressive Party calls for a U.S. constitutional amendment which declares in clear and unequivocal language that:
Corporations Are Not People and 
Money is not Speech
American history is a long battle between democracy (We the People) and elitist power of corporations and the wealthy.  The balance has been tilted in favor of the wealthy 1% and the national/multinational corporations by various U.S. Supreme Court cases.  In a series of decisions beginning with the 1886 Santa Clara County v Southern Pacific Railroad, our rights as enumerated in the Bill of Rights have been declared by the courts to belong to corporations, the artificial creations of the states. These decisions have given corporations constitutional rights

Former Top Enron Energy Trader Funds 69% of Measure 90 Campaign (Top Two Primary)

Manipulating energy markets was not enough
Now the agenda is manipulating Oregon's elections

Update:  John Arnold has ponied up another $275,000, making his total Measure 90 contribution = $1.75 million.

Former top-level Enron energy trader John Arnold has now contributed $1,500,000 to a new political committee, the "Open Primaries Committee." Arnold doubled his previous $500,000 contribution two weeks before with another $1,000,000 contribution just filed today. The Committee's only mission is to support Measure 90, the "top two" primary plan backed by corporations and the wealthy.

John Arnold made his mark on society as one of the top managers of the Enron energy trading operation. That was the bunch who caused the phony "West Coast Energy Crisis" of 2000-2002 with fraudulent trades, resulting in rolling blackouts and huge electricity rate increases. Later studies showed that it cost the California economy alone over $42 billion. For its impact on Oregon, see Enron Corruption: The Special Oregon Connection.

John Arnold is Measure 90's biggest financial backer, by far. Of the total raised to support Measure 90 between its two committees ($2,189,719 so far), John Arnold personally has contributed 69% of it.

"Burn, baby, burn. That's a beautiful thing." That is what Enron traders were recorded as saying as a fire approached a major transmission line, because it caused the line to be "derated" or shut off, thus drastically increasing electricity prices. See this New York Times article: Word for Word? Energy Hogs: Enron Traders on Grandama Millie and Making Out Like Bandits for more information. Or remember this from the Enron energy traders:

"They're f------g taking all the money back from you guys?" complains an Enron employee on the tapes. "All the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?"

"Yeah, grandma Millie, man"

"Yeah, now she wants her f------g money back for all the power you've charged right up, jammed right up her ass for f------g $250 a megawatt hour." [emphasis added]

See the CBS News article Enron Traders Caught on Tape.

John Arnold received a $8 million bonus in 2001, one day before Enron declared bankruptcy. In his 2005 deposition, he took the 5th Amendment and refused to answer any questions, except basically his name. He formed a hedge fund, Centaurus Advisors LLC, and hired, among others, John Forney, who had pled guilty to manipulating electricity prices from Enron's now-defunct trading office in Portland, Oregon. See the CBS News piece Enron Energy Trader Pleads Guilty.

For more information on why Measure 90 is bad for Oregon (but somehow apparently good for former Enron energy traders) see:

Save Oregon's Democracy
Protect Our Vote

Koch Brothers Provide Significant Funding to Top Two Primary (Measure 90) Supporters

Oregon Progressive Party Press Release: 9/16/2014

The Koch brothers, through their firm Koch Industries, are providing significant funding to a major supporter of Measure 90, the top two primary proposal.

The political committee of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI PAC, ID #10) reported on September 3 receiving a $10,000 contribution from Koch Industries.  The AOI PAC on September 2 reported giving a $50,000 contribution to Vote Yes on Measure 90 (ID #17001), making it at that time the largest financial backer of the measure.  It was later topped by the $60,000 contribution from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Administrators.

Koch Industries, at $25,000, is the third largest aggregate contributor to the AOI PAC, behind only Daimler Trucks LLC and ESCO Corp.

"The Koch brothers join a parade of corporations, corporate executives, and big-time financiers in bankrolling Measure 90," said Seth Woolley of the Pacific Green Party.  "They correctly perceive Measure 90 as a way for the corporations to control Oregon."

The largest contributors to the Yes on Measure 90 PAC are:

OPP Urges NO on the Corporate Takeover of Portland’s Water and Sewer System

NOTE: Thanks to the determined opposition of the Oregon Progressive Party, this measure was defeated on May 20, 2014, by a vote of 71-29%.

This is the Voters' Pamphlet statement of the Oregon Progressive Party on Portland Measure 26-256.

Oregonian's Ohman on Oregon's Campaign Finances

Jack Ohman, the renowned political cartoonist of the Oregonian, has allowed us to reprint this gem from February 12. It is available nowhere else on the web. Click on the cartoon to see a readable version.Ohman on Oregon

Where Ohman says, "But we don't have any limits on contributions," he means Oregon does not have limits that are being enforced. As we know, in November 2006, the voters of Oregon enacted Measure 47, which established one of the nation's most strict system of limits on political campaign contributions and expenditures. It also requires every political advertisement funded by "independent expenditures" to fully disclose the names, businesses, and amount contributed by each of its 5 largest donors, right in the ad itself.

The Secretary of State and Attorney General of Oregon have refused to enforce Measure 47, even though no court has ruled any part of Measure 47 to be unconstitutional. The Chief Petitioners have sued the Secretary of State and Attorney General to compel them to implement and enforce Measure 47, and that case is now before the Oregon Supreme Court, where oral argument was heard on January 9, 2012. The Court will probably make a decision within a few months.

Due to their refusal to implement Measure 47, campaign spending in Oregon continues to skyrocket. Total spending on campaigns for state and local offices in Oregon increased from $4.2 million in 1998 to $57 million in 2010. Candidates for Governor in 2010 alone raised and spent over $20 million. Winning a contested race for the Oregon Legislature now typically costs over $600,000, sometimes more. The Oregonian reports that spending on state legislative races in Oregon is higher per capita than in any other state, except New Jersey.

House Rejects Bill to Cap Campaign Finance Reporting Penalties

On Friday, June 17, the Oregon House of Representatives voted 54-5 to reject SB 270A, the bill to limit fines for failure to report campaign contributions and/or expenditures to $5,000 for all violations occurring in any month, regardless of the number of violations or the amount of money not disclosed.

This was a victory for the Oregon Progressive Party, the Independent Party of Oregon, and Fair Elections Oregon, which were the only 3 organizations opposing SB 270A (which had passed the Oregon Senate by a vote of 29-0 before we heard about it).

We thank former Senator Rick Metsger for making his views known to House members on the eve of the vote. We also thank the members who spoke against the bill on the floor, including Bill Kennemer, Greg Matthews, Mary Nolan, Chris Harker, Brian Clem, Jeff Barker, and Carolyn Tomei. Jefferson Smith and his staff also worked to defeat this bill.

    Read more ...

Oregonian Writes about SB 270A

Oregon House will vote on capping fines for campaign finance violations
Jeff Mapes
June 14, 2011

SALEM -- Oregon legislators are nearing a final vote on a bill that could dramatically lower the potential penalties that lawmakers – and other political candidates -- face for violating campaign finance reporting laws.

Senate Bill 270, which is nearing the last legislative step of passage on the House floor, would cap potential fines at $5,000 a month for any and all reporting violations. Under current law, each violation can be subject to a fine of as much as 10 percent of the dollar amount of the transaction, which could result in vastly larger penalties.    Read more at The Oregonian ...

Progressive Party Explains Opposition to SB 270A

In a message to leaders of the Oregon House of Representatives, the State Council of the Oregon Progressive Party reiterated its absolute opposition to SB 270A, which remains in the House Rules Committee.  The bill would allow any candidate or political committee to avoid reporting any of its campaign contributions received during an entire month, upon payment of a single fine of only $5,000. It would destroy Oregon's campaign finance reporting system, allowing big money contributors to avoid disclosing their identities . . . ever.     Read more ...

Dan Meek Addresses Filibuster Reform on "Populist Dialogs"

This is Part 2 of a 2-part interview. Part 1 is below.

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