Earlier today, a new campaign finance initiative was filed with the Secretary of State. Sponsored by Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), former Rep. Larry Perry (D-Eugene), and former AP capitol reporter Chuck Beggs, the measure is known as the "Common Sense Campaign Finance" measure. [Previously, Buckley withdrew his support for other campaign finance efforts currently collecting signatures.]
The complete text of the proposed constitutional amendment:
The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by creating a new section 25 to be added to and made a part of Article II, such section to read:
Section 25. (1) A corporation or labor organization may not make a contribution from treasury funds to any candidate for nomination or election to state or local public office, or to any political committee supporting or opposing a candidate for nomination or election to state or local public office.
(2) In a calendar year, an individual may not contribute an aggregate amount exceeding $15,000 to all candidates for nomination or election to state or local public office and all other political committees supporting or opposing a candidate for nomination or election to state or local public office. This subsection does not apply to contributions made from the personal funds of a candidate to the candidate.
(3) For each calendar year, the Secretary of State, by rule, shall adjust the amount of the aggregate contribution limit described in subsection (2) of this section to account for changes in consumer prices. The secretary shall use an official indicator of consumer prices and round the adjusted amount to the closest dollar.
More details after the jump....
From the press release:
“For campaign finance reform to work, it must be simple and clear,” Buckley said. “This initiative is but a few short paragraphs, but it would fundamentally change Oregon politics by putting an end to a system dominated by large corporations and a handful of super-rich individuals.”
“Big-money political campaigns have badly undermined democracy in Oregon,” Perry stated. “The moneyed interests have diminished the role of ordinary citizens in their own government. People distrustful and skeptical of a system awash in money are non-participants.”
Regarding the other two measures on the street:
The “Common Sense Campaign Finance Reform” will join two other campaign finance reform efforts, Petitions 8 and 37, in the signature-gathering arena this year. Buckley was an early proponent and a chief petitioner for Petition 37, but announced his opposition to the proposal following months of discussions with individuals throughout the state, legal consultants, and organizations such the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, and a number of grassroots political groups.
“Petition 37 has a potential to backfire in very significant ways,” Buckley explained. “Every attorney I have spoken to has stated that at least two of its key provisions will be challenged and overturned by the courts, and if that should happen, the campaign system left in place would have the exact opposite result of what is desired with reform—it would actually provide significantly greater advantages to wealthy candidates and wealthy political players.”
On the chance for success:
“It took 18 months, but I think we finally got the language right,” Buckley explained. “We want to make sure that the changes we make are effective as well as legally sound. I’m confident that if we can get the initiative on the ballot, it will pass. And if we get it passed it will be a significant step in the direction the vast majority of Oregonians want to go in—campaigns that are less expensive, fairer and more representative of the people of our state.”
Buckley acknowledges that gathering the required signatures prior to the July 2 deadline will be a significant challenge.
“To succeed in bringing about real reform, we need to all work together,” said Buckley. “In filing this petition, we call upon campaign finance advocates to unite around the Common Sense Campaign Finance Reform Initiative – a clear, workable proposal that the voters of Oregon can endorse in good conscience.”