Don't like TABOR? Support 46 and 47

By Tom Civiletti of Oak Grove, Oregon. Tom says he's "a progressive Democratic activist who isn't afraid to disagree with his friends."

Oregonians love to cut taxes. We've passed two property tax limitations since 1990 and enshrined the income tax kicker in the Oregon Constitution. With all the problems these have caused for government services, there has been little effort to repeal them.

This November Oregonians will vote on Measure 48, a limit on state budget growth usually referred to as a Taxpayers' Bill of Rights, or TABOR, although supporters have inaccurately labeled it a 'Rainy Day Amendment.' Opponents like to point out that Colorado voters have suspended the TABOR law they passed in 1992. This reversal is usually ascribed to voters realizing how destructive the budget limitation had become, but this ignores powerful political forces at work in the state.

There were widespread changes to Colorado's political climate created by the passage of Amendment 27 in the 2002 elections. Amendment 27 is a set of reforms similar to the Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47 that Oregonians will vote on starting in a few days.

In the 2004 general election, both houses of the Colorado Legislature switched from Republican to Democratic control; the first time in 30 years that Democrats had majorities in both chambers. That's right. Unlike scary predictions by progressive Fair Elections opponents, comprehensive contribution limits led to Democratic control of the Legislature in Colorado. The legislature then passed a referendum to suspend TABOR for five years, which the voters approved.

There may have been another, more difficult to document change that campaign finance reform created. The decrease in money coming from business groups to conservative candidates - who would have used it to run political ads about cutting taxes, shrinking government, and privatizing services - may have changed the political buzz in Colorado, making voters less distrustful of government and more willing to fund services. This may have made them more likely to vote to suspend TABOR.

So, if you want to see education, environmental protection, social services, and public infrastructure well funded in Oregon, Colorado's experience suggests that you should vote 'yes' on Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47.

Comments

  • LT (unverified)
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    Sorry, but I agree with Peter Buckley's guest opinion in the Friday Oregonian.

    I was a supporter of Measure 9, the campaign finance reform measure which passed and was struck down by the courts.

    I am concerned about the superduper majority in 46, and that there are unintended consequences in any measure as long as 47. It could easily land in court and have some or all of it changed or struck down.

    One "reform" which requires no law change is to allow people to agree on the general topic but question the wording of a particular measure. That is how we have the kind of intelligent debates which create good law.

    And I don't think the measures are a magic wand which will get rid of all the outside money and the McIntires of this world. As I understand it, the Colo. Dems talking more intelligent issues than the Rs had a lot to do with flipping the legislature, along with the wave created by the victories of the Salazar brothers.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT might want to read my comments on Peter Buckley's Op-Ed at LoadedOrygun I discuss the over-rated fear of parts of Measure 47 being struck down in court.

    As to the reason the Colorado Legislature flipped in 2004, the connection beween campaign money spent and winning elections is very well documented. Documentation of the effect of "Dems talking more intelligent issues" is nonexistant, as for as I know.

  • KISS (unverified)
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    Of all the cockamamie ideas that the sky will fall, again[ measure 5 and 50 being first] 46 and 47 sound pretty good to me. Dan Meek and Lloyd Marbet are no fools. Mr. Civlletti never mentions going after corporations for their fair share of taxes...in fact demos seem myopic in their corporation tax demands.Just in case you are ignorant of the facts. Many multi-national corps pay NADA..no income nor corp tax in Orygun.

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    how is the fear overrated when the apparent consensus of constitutional lawyers is that significant parts of the measure are highly vulnerable to being stricken by the courts?

  • "Un"intended consequences (unverified)
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    Just because the Dems successfully used their version of 46 and 47 to rig the Colorado elections doesn't mean we'll be able to do the same in Oregon. What if it goes the other way here?

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Good luck getting people to read comments on torridjoe's post on Loaded Orygun, as he seemingly fears opening his post to public comment, so any boggers' comments are not tallied nor displayed when one views the stand-alone post via its permalink.

    From the commentary by State Rep. Peter Buckley (D, HD 5) in Friday's Oregonian, 'Measure 47 - How to make a bad system even worse':

    "The turning point for me came when we brought in a national consultant on campaign-finance reform to talk through the proposed system with different groups in Oregon. When the direct question came up as to the likelihood of all of the different financial limits being upheld in court, the consultant's reply was this: 'Maybe fifty-fifty.'

    "I've taken that same question to a number of constitutional attorneys since then. They all agree on one thing: After the dust clears from the legal challenges, wealthy individuals who contribute to their own campaigns and special-interest groups funded by a Loren Parks or a Howard Rich who run high-dollar independent expenditure efforts would emerge victorious and would have the limits on their campaign contributions overturned. Meanwhile, the rest of us would be muzzled."

    Tom's LO comment is disingenuous in calling Rep. Buckley's noting that limits on candidate self-financing and contributions to independent campaigns were the most certain to be struck down as "Peter Buckley’s nightmare scenario of Measure 47." Indeed, that was his best-case scenario for its outcome. Although that is the minimal prediction of bad news by authorities on the subject, he accuses Rep. Buckley of "Using doubts about minor provisions of Measure 47 to discount the worth of the entire package".

    I'll mention that Colorado’s Amendment 27 of 2002 included no provision to prohibit the Colorado Legislature from doing their job in making law about campaign finance such as included in Oregon's Constitutional Amendment Measure 46, yet Colorado's CFR survives. It is unnecessary and injurious to the democratic institution it seeks to reform.

  • Ernie (unverified)
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    I've sought the names and statements of the so-called "national consultant on campaign-finance reform" and "number of constitutional attorneys" but apparently it's a big secret. I like and admire Peter Buckley but take no one at their word on an important issue like this.

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    Ed sed: "Good luck getting people to read comments on torridjoe's post on Loaded Orygun, as he seemingly fears opening his post to public comment, so any boggers' comments are not tallied nor displayed when one views the stand-alone post via its permalink."

    I beg your pardon? I just opened the permalink to my post, and anyone is (as always) free to post a comment. Carla's post on 46/47 got 143 comments, so any allegation that we fear comments is patently absurd.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe,

    There are two distinct issues concerning provisions of M47 that opponents believe will be struck down:

    • What are the chances they really will be struck down?

    • If they are struck down, how much will it matter?

    I believe the supposed "consensus of experts" that opponents trot out has been puffed up way beyond reality, but that is not what I talk about in my critique of Buckley's Op-Ed. If you read my comment on LoadedOrygun's string, you will find that I argue that Fair Elections will be of great value even if the provisions in question are struck down.

    That I believe they will survive judicial review is a seperate issue.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    KISS is correct that corporations are freeloading, especially in Oregon. This idea has a prominent place in the Fair Elections campaign, both in our literature and in our live presentations.

    Unfortunately, the corporate stranglehold on politics has made it impossible to remedy our unfair tax system. Pass Fair Elections Measures 46 & $7, and that will change.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    "Un"intended consequences,

    Politics is not completely unlike physical science in that large forces pushing in a clear direction have predictable effects.

    The most important [as in "most $"] change that Fair Elections will have is the removal of corporate money from our politics. Since most corporate money goes to Republicans [it always does] it is predictable that Measures 46 & 47 will have the same kind of effect in Oregon that Amendment 27 has in Colorado: Democrats will do better,and those Democrats will be less afraid to what is in the interest of citizens, whather or not the big businesses like it.

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    Tom, are you asserting that Buckley talked to people with ulterior motives, or that he talked to incompetent lawyers, or that he's lying? It's gotta be one of the three, and I'm curious to see you substantiate one of them.

    As for impact, you have to be a little touched in the head to believe that restricting non-profits and letting individuals continue spend literally as many dollars as they have, would not have a deletrious result.

    We need campaign finance reform, but it must be WORKABLE reform. All the indications I see are that this is unworkable reform--difficult to understand, harder to enforce, and vulnerable to evisceration in the courts.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ed Bickford,

    From what you quoted above, it's clear that the provisions about self-financing and indivdual contributions to independent campaigns ARE what Buckley is concerned about. If there's something else there, please let us know what that is.

    As to Amendment 27, Colorado voters left their legislature out of the picture completely. The entire campaign finance reform system was included in Amendment 27 [it's an amendment because it amends the Colorado constitution]. In other words, Amendment 27 is like taking the text of M47 and putting it into M46, which amends the Oregon constitution. Imagine how opponents would howl if we had done that!

    Also, LoadedOrygun does require one to regiater in order to post a message, but one can read what's been posted simply by clicking on the comments link at the bottom of each blog post.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    torridjoe,

    I am suggesting that Peter Buckley has reasons for opposing Measure 47 other than what he presented in the Oregonian Op-Ed. I say that because I believe Buckley is smart enough and knows enough about campaign finance to realize that the provisions he questions are just not that important in the campaign funding picture as a whole.

    You also ignore the big picture in your last comment.

    • Nonprofits are regulated by Fair Elections, but only in certain aspects of their political work done close to election day. Almost all of what nonprofits do would be unaffected by Fair Elections.

    • Again, I don't believe the limits on individuals will be struck down. Many states are already enforcing limits on individauls like those in M47, but I am certain that even if the provisions are lost, the removal of corporate money from campaigns will have a positive effect much greater than the negative effect that personal money left in the system would have.

    • Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47 look quite workable to me. If you have a more workable system in mind, let us see it so we can compare it to Fair Elections.

  • Gary Duell (unverified)
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    I have yet to see any direct, substantiated comments anywhere from any of these so-called "constitutional law" experts and consultants regarding M46 & 47. By the way, these same extremely shy, clairvoyant wizards also said M46 would "most certainly" not be allowed on the ballot by the Oregon Supreme court. But it was. While you all are debating whether the impacts of M46 & 47 will be perfect- and perfectly predictable-, Oregon politics is nonetheless perfectly corrupted. Are M47's 16 pages a reasonably expected prescription for 300+ pages of election statues & regulations? That actually seems quite frugal to me. I believe that the broadbased bipartisan support of, and opposition to 46 & 47 is proof that they are fair. Opponents are either hysterical, ignorant or turf guarding.

  • anon (unverified)
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    Lemme get this straight, proponents of this measure worked with the proponents of TABOR to get on the ballot, they are running the same disengenous Hawaii ads the TABOR proponents are, and now you are trying to tie the passage of 46/47 to the eventual defeat of 48? It seems like if ya really cared, you might not have coordinated and be working to defeat it.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Tom's job as an advocate for measures 46 & 47 is to cast a favorable light on them, but it ill-serves forthright debate to twist the truth out of the debate, and calls into question one's dedication to 'fairness' of any sort.

    The "consensus of experts" he tries to dismiss, then goes on at length to counter, was elicited by the framers, not unnamed opponents. Also, it is not a separate issue that many provisions of M 47 are not likely to survive judicial review; passage of law deserves consideration of its effects beyond just getting it on the books.

    From my quote above, it's clear that the provisions about self-financing and indivdual contributions to independent campaigns are NOT the only things that Rep. Buckley is concerned about. As to Colorado Amendment 27, it's not that voters left their legislature out of the picture, but that the framers were not so cynical about representational democracy that they felt compelled to disable it in case they were opposed.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    anon wrote:

    "Lemme get this straight, proponents of this measure worked with the proponents of TABOR to get on the ballot, they are running the same disengenous Hawaii ads the TABOR proponents are, and now you are trying to tie the passage of 46/47 to the eventual defeat of 48? It seems like if ya really cared, you might not have coordinated and be working to defeat it."

    Whoa, friend! You've been listening to some of the diarrhea flowing from the anti-Fair Electoins campaign. The connection between the Fair Elections campaign and the TABOR campaign is virtually non-existant. Supposedly, some signature gathering group that worked on the TABOR effort also contracted to gather signatures for Fair Elections, or so goes the charge. I don't know if this is true or not. Regardless, it is illegal to try to influence what other iitiatives a signature gather works on. Fair Elections Oregon tries to steer clear of illegality.

    what same disengenuos Hawaii ads? Fair Elections did a ad in WillyWeek about the big campaign checks legislators picked up in Hawaii? You call that disengenuous?

    Everyone I have talked to involved in the Fair Elections campaogn is strongly opposed to Measure 48. Your disengenuous attempt to connect the two reminds me of Bush administration tactics. By the way, we also have no connection to Osama bin Laden, in case you are wondering.

  • Ernie (unverified)
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    I've spoken to 104 national consultants on campaign-finance reform and 2,064 constitutional attorneys who say M47 will withstand all legal challenges, if any occur.

    You don't believe me? If that's the case, why on earth are you taking, at word, opponents of M47 when they refuse to release any names or statements made.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Who is using Rovian tactics? The title of Tom's post tells whose disingenuous linkage of measures is at issue.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    "Ernie", the question is whether you have any reason on earth to maintain that Rep. Buckley has "refuse[d] to release any names or statements made" by the consultants at issue?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ed,

    Welcome to the discussion, but I must say that your writing is far from clear, and your grasp on the subject is tenuous.

    First, if I have a job as an advocate for Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47, it is an unpaid one. We have a few part-time employees who are busy with day-to-day campaign tasks. The spokespeople for Fair Elections are all volunteers. We are more than volunteers, actually. We are contributors to the campaign, so we are giving money, not taking it.

    Next, we have asked to speak with the legal experts who opponents refer to in their campaign. A meeting, a conference call, an exchange of emails, a chat over some good bourbon, whatever. We've gotten nada.

    You evidently don't understand the difference between legislation and constitution. Colorado's Amendment 27 is IN THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION!!! That means the legislature must refer any changes to the people for a vote. This is a much more limited role than Fair Elections Meausure 46 gives the Oregon Legislature. Understand?

    As to Buckley, if he is worried about the constitutionality of some other M47 provisions, I've not seen them listed anywhere. Have you? If so, would you post them here so we all can consider them.

  • Ernie (unverified)
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    Ed,

    No one opposed to M47 has released these names and statements. That's a fact. Waste your time, like I did, and contact Peter and the organizations opposed. They either won't reply or reply and ignore the questions.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ed Bickford wrote:

    "Who is using Rovian tactics? The title of Tom's post tells whose disingenuous linkage of measures is at issue."

    anon used tactics which remind me of Shrub, Rummy, and Dickie Boy.

    And Ed, if you refuse to see the connection between political money and election results, so be it. I'm sticking to my contention: Passage of Amendment 27 led to suspension of TABOR. Show me some convincing evidence [not weak conjecture] to the contrary, and perhaps I will change my mind.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Duh! Now I understand! The people in Colorado writing CFR law are bad examples, and not to be followed. Thanks for clearing that up!

    A job is a job, paid or not, sir. Ethics apply irregardless.

  • KISS (unverified)
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    If 46 and 47 turns out not to be the miracle we hope for another initiative can make it onto another ballot and the legislature be taken out of the play. What harm is really done? On the other hand if it works...what joy for the people. In Oregon politics Corporation money, and yes, Union money are the prime movers and shakers. Vested interest is not good for the people and isn't that what Oregon is all about? Let's give 46 and 47 a chance. Thanks Tom for being level-headed in this heated discussion.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    ... and they all lived happily ever after! THE END (not!)

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Ed,

    Your argumentation is appalling. First you make a point based on your misunderstanding of governemt. Then, when your mistake is exposed, you apply your mistake to an unrelated issue.

    I don't think putting CFR minutiae into a constitution is a good idea. Fair Elections DOES NOT DO THAT. What I wrote, and I repeat this for you since you seem to get lost easlily, is that in Colorado, contribution limits led to suspension of TABOR.

    I think Fair Elections is much better written than Amendment 27. It should work even better.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
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    Tom, your argumentation is appalling to me. But then, this isn't about me.

    If it makes you feel superior, I'll admit that I haven't given Colorado's mistakes a lot of attention. But wait, this isn't about you either!

    I don't think that those so cynical about representational democracy that they felt compelled to disable it in case they were opposed should be allowed to write CFR law.

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    The signature drive for Measures 46 and 47 did not hire any firms that worked on TABOR or any other initiative.

  • Missus R (unverified)
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    Buckley flipped on CFR because labor & the clatch of consultants -- worried that their fees would shrink -- scared him.

    The Mark Weiner/Kevin Looper/Lisa Grove/Patricia McCaig/Tim Nesbitt/ Chip Terhune group of unelected chiefs, worried that their fees would shrink, went through their hugely broad array of relationships and tenetacles to the other left-leaning groups and got them to oppose with scary stories tha those groups would be shut down. (The groups won't be shut down...but consultant fees would probably be less plentiful). That the consultants spent so much energy fighting these initiatives -- rather than advancing POSITIVE initiatives, is just another testiment that the consultants -- smart that they might be -- worry more about their fees than they do about good public policy.

    Buckley's a good guy, but he was up between a nearly immovable object (Meek & Lonsdale) and a hard-to-resist-force (the consultant-owned nature of our politics).

    46 & 47 aren't perfect, but they are steps in the right direction. And the folks who fight against 'em are doing it from questionable motives and with questionable information.

  • Jeremiah Baumann (unverified)
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    I don't think impugning people's motives helps anything here. I think Peter Buckley is an honorable person and a good Representative who cares about these issues. He and I happen to differ on this issue and that's fine. Reasonable people can disagree. That said, I've seen some pretty shoddy legal arguments tossed around on law-firm letterhead in this case.

    For what it's worth on the question of what will get struck down and what that will mean--

    I have talked to a set of national campaign finance lawyers and experts and my impression is that people are split...

    1. Yes, there's a chance some provisions get struck down. Mostly the wealthy candidates and independent expenditure provisions.

    2. The provisions that are in there were put in there because a) there's a good argument that they could be upheld (several states have similar limits which have not been struck down, and the reasons some expenditure limits have been struck down have been because courts didn't like how low the limits were, not that no limits were allowed), and b) they're good policy and if they remain in there, they make measure 47 even stronger. In fact, if someone challenges them and courts approve, they'd set important precedent.

    3. Even if they get thrown out, the remaining campaign finance reform package is a heck of a lot better than the rules we have today. In places where individual and PAC contributions are limited but wealthy candidates and independent expenditures are not, the influence of big money is still dramatically reduced.

    People that say they supported measure 9 in 1994 but can't support this because of these "unintended consequences" are misunderstanding something (and it's worth noting that a lot of people who imply they support reform and/or supported measure 9 actually opposed measure 9 back then).

    These provisions are improvements on measure 9 (measure 47 and measure 9 accomplish much the same thing); if courts throw them out, what remains will look even more like measure 9.

    For my thoughts on other arguments against 46 and 47, go here and scroll down to my comment.

  • Rep. Peter Buckley (unverified)
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    All--

    I don't know if anyone is still following this thread--I hit onto it tonight (Saturday) and appreciate the debate. I fully agree with those who are trying to keep the focus on the policy and not the personalities, because, again, I greatly respect Dan Meek and Harry Lonsdale and I know without a doubt that their intentions are for a better Oregon. I've tried to keep the focus on the policy, and I'm wondering if the participants on this thread have read the analysis on 46 & 47 done by the Money In Politics Research Action Group (MIPRAP). You can find it at:

    http://www.oregonfollowthemoney.org/2006BM/2page4647.htm

    There is a link on that page to an even more detailed analysis as well. They have done a first rate job, in my view.

    The analysis they offer might not change any minds here, but I do think they make it clear that the pros and cons of 46 and 47 are significant.

    My hope is that no matter what happens on November 7, we can find the way to put a system in place that increases those pros and decreases those cons. This has not been an easy couple of years on this front in any way, but the effort is worthwhile and I look forward to the next steps.

  • Tahler (unverified)
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    Vote NO on Prop. 46 & 47!!

    They will silence member-based non-profit groups. This poorly crafted measure will have the unintended consequence of helping rich donors and candidates who can afford to finance their own campaigns. Backers of this measure are under investigation for violating state election laws and were supported during the signature gathering effort by extreme right-wing groups.

  • LT (unverified)
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    Peter,

    Thank you for your comment. That is a useful resource.

    With regard to the tone of the debate here, I've had some conversations recently along the lines of "why do good people drop out of politics?".

    Having been both very involved and a political dropout over the years (told someone I met tonite at a political event that I am one of the old timers who had dropped out of politics but been brought back by Howard Dean), I think the answer is pretty basic.

    If people think they can accomplish something concrete and have intelligent political discussions along the lines of the above comment "He and I happen to differ on this issue and that's fine. Reasonable people can disagree. " then they are more likely to stay involved.

    I have seen candidates up against incumbents (in some cases with less money than the incumbent) who attracted enthusiastic volunteer support. To say that those candidates can't possibly win unless 47 passes is not a selling point to anyone who ever saw an "impossible" campaign win. Money doesn't buy volunteers going door to door in legislative races. It doesn't buy "I'm campaigning for my friend--- because...".

    The most perfectly written campaign finance reform measure can't guarantee volunteer participation. Some of this debate sounds like the old one-way school of politics--people are not thinking adult voters, they are inanimate objects to be acted upon by campaigns bombarding them with ads. I think the best campaigns engage the voters and don't just inflict ads on them. But that is campaign philosophy and can't be legislated.

    It is no wonder that people get turned off if they often see debates end up as "if you and I agree on stating the problem, then you must agree with my solution or you don't really believe there is a problem".

    I'm old enough to have been frustrated 35 years ago because there were some people who said ending US involvement in Vietnam was a complex problem needing a lot of intelligent discussion (the intelligent approach), but there were others who said "If you truly want to end the war, then agree with me that we must do X" as if there were no other acceptable solution. There were even some who maintained that showing up at a rally was more important than working behind the scenes to actually solve a problem. If a person encounters too many such people, it is like talking to a brick wall--and no wonder they decide they have better uses for their time than politics!

    That is how Tom sounds when he says, "And Ed, if you refuse to see the connection between political money and election results, so be it."

    I believe that there is a connection between political money and election results, but not a 1:1 match. The biggest spender does not always win. Portland mayor examples: Did Potter outspend Francesconi? Did Bud Clark outspend Frank Ivancie? As I recall there have been similar results at the legislative level, and on election night we will see if any outspent legislative candidate wins.

    I believe that the 2007 legislature will be a lot different from recent sessions. But I don't think the wording of 47 is bulletproof----there just might be some unintended consequences for groups like the Bus Project. And "trust us, that won't happen" isn't good enough. I know there are those who think hell will freeze over before we see legislators discuss this issue seriously. But the case has not been made that 47 is a good measure. In the end, each voter has the right to decide on each measure. And saying that anyone who votes against 47 doesn't see a problem isn't the way to get my vote.

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    LT, I'm one of those old guys, too...and you know how we ended the war and stopped our soldiers dying in Vietnam? We pulled the troops out. Same as we need to do in Iraq. Sometimes we make these things more complicated then they need to be.

    I'd LOVE for someone to tell me what this piece of garbage I got in the mail today is all about. From the "Paid for by the if You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'll Never Get It Back Committee" 101 SW Main Street, Suite 1905:

    Guy wearing psychedelic-swirly glasses, hand on his head, face scrunched up...he's so confused. The words: "Campaign Finance. Can't figure it out...You're not alone. NO on measures 46 & 47."

    C'mon, y'all...SOMEBODY at Blue Oregon must know who's funding the LOSE YOUR VOICE THIS THIS TIME, YOU'LL NEVER GET IT BACK Committee?

    Anybody want to bet it's funded by the "ordinary Oregonians" it says "there is nothing in Measure 46 and 47 for"?

    And to think that sometimes I think that I'M cynical...

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Representative Buckley,

    I'm glad you've joined the conversation. Much of the debate on Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47 has been about the matter you raised in your Oregonian Op-Ed: that limits to candidate self-financing and individual contributions to independent campaigns might fall under judicial review. I don't share your pessimism about this, but I wonder, even if these two provisions were eliminated, would Fair Elections leave us in a worse situation than we are now?

    I can't imagine it doing so, but you seem do. Obviously, the answer to this is quantitative, since we are dealing with amounts of money going into the political process. It seems to me, that if you want voters to heed your warning about unintended consequences, you should predict what you believe is a reasonable total campaign budget for an election cycle under Fair Elections. Show us the amount of candidate self-financing and the amount of individual contributions going into independent campaigns that would be necessary to overcome the positive effect of removing all corporate money from campaigns and limiting other contributions to campaigns to the amounts allowed in Measure 47. Only if such a budget prediction were based on believable numbers would voters have something besides ambiguous fears to rely on in this matter.

    I await your budget projections

  • Ernie (unverified)
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    Frank,

    Here’s info on that committee. The address, including suite number, belongs to Gray Strategies (http://www.graystrategies.com).

    Basically, this "citizen's" group are political consultants. The site says, "...founded by Roger Gray in August 1998, provides full-service political consulting to campaigns and organizations nationwide.

    According to their only C&E report, all money is coming from special interest's including: Associated Oregon Industries (AOI), two Oregon Restaurant Association PACS ($50,000 total), and a handful of labor unions. Apparently, these sworn enemies have joined forces to protect their influence.

    The report is here.

    Here's the political committee info from the Secretary of State.

    Statement of Organization

    Committee Id: 5513 Committee Type: Ballot Measure Committee Name: If You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'Ll Never Get It Back Committee Acronyn: Filed: 09/29/2006 Last Amended: Discontinued: Address: 101 SW MAIN ST #1905 PORTLAND OR, 97204 Treasurer: Ms. Amy Van Camp Home Phone: (503)799-4874 Work Phone: Nature: Ballot Measure Committee Opposing Measures 46 & 47

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    LT,

    This is not the first post of yours on Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47 that takes a Reaganesque approach. You support your opinions with inspiring anecdotes of successful grassroots, low-budget campaigning. As I have mentioned before, there is a large body of research documenting the power of money in elections. The correlation of spending more with winning is dependably over 90%!

    No number of stories about Tom Potter's campaign can overcome the facts. No appeal to the power of effective grassroots politics is going to sway evidence-based readers. If you are going to argue that money in politics is not so important as Fair Elections supporters believe, you really should have more to back you up.

    I love grassroots politics. If Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47 pass, the reduction of big money in candidate campaigns should make grassroots politics more powerful, possibly much more powerful. I'd like that, wouldn't you?

    By the way, if my arguments in favor of Fair Elections remind you of a "brick wall", as you write, perhaps it is because your arguments and those of others opposing the measures here resemble a thin slice of Swiss cheese. I've seen ambiguous fears expressed. I've seen arguments based on faulty understanding of basic government. I've seen arguments that make no attempt to explain away the overwhelming hard evidence against them.

    When are opponents going to supply some meat to go with that Swiss cheese they're handing out?

  • Ernie (unverified)
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    Here's something that would turn incumbents against M47 since many seek higher office. It's in MiPRAP's detailed analysis here.

    14) Some unobligated funds of candidate committees may forfeit to the State of Oregon, after each election cycle.

    Measure 47 reads: “Within 60 days after the close of the election cycle for the office sought, the unexpended funds of a candidate committee at the close of the election cycle for the office sought shall revert to the State of Oregon to revert to the State of Oregon to offset the cost of producing the Voters’ Pamphlet, except for those funds reasonably necessary to pay the obligations of the committee and to terminate its operations. A candidate elected to the Oregon Legislature may deposit not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) of the unexpended funds into the account maintained for legislative office expenses during the legislative session.”

    This is a very interesting proposal that would bar incumbents from amassing war chests that often scare off challengers while helping fund the Voters’ Pamphlet and legislative office expenses. In reality candidates would probably spend down all their campaign funds. Indeed, similar laws in other states just require that all campaign funds be spent without any requirement about turning over unspent funds to the state.

    According to the Brennan Center of Justice22 courts have split on the constitutionality of spend-down provisions. In the Sixth Circuit (Oregon is in the Ninth Circuit) the Circuit court invalidated a spend-down law that required candidates to turn over unspent funds to the state. The Alaska Supreme Court, however, upheld a similar law.

    Though there could be constitutional concerns about this provision, if it is overturned it isn’t particularly damaging to the overall goals of Measure 47. For this reason, pushing the legal envelope on this point seems worthwhile.

  • Ernie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    By the way, Protect Our Voice sent out a full-page mailer claiming that Rural Organizing Project opposes Measure 47 when they actually support it. It's just one more lie in a long list.

  • (Show?)

    Tom Civiletti and Rep. Peter Buckley,

    Can you email me? I am moderating a debate this Friday on this issue and I'd like to give you the opportunity to suggest some questions.

    I'm sending some other similar invitations, so people should feel free to email me. Please let me know if I can attribute the question to you, and if so, a short statement of who you are.

    Thanks, Paul Gronke

  • (Show?)

    Associated Oregon Industries (AOI), the largest corporate lobbying entity in Oregon, says Measure 47 would be great for the unions.

    http://www.aoi.org/members/articledetail.asp?id=801

    Note that Petition 37 is what became Measure 47 on the ballot.

    AOI says <in italics="">:

    Initiative #37 is currently circulating and gathering signatures. This “campaign finance reform” is actually a Trojan Horse for Oregon’s voters. While supporters may think they are getting corporate and union money out of politics, they are actually giving unions a big advantage in electing their candidates.

    This advantage over business PACs would be gained by membership and collection infrastructure to form “Small Donor Groups” of people contributing less than $50. Unions currently receive the bulk of their donations from members at this level (which is collected by the state in many cases, but that’s another issue).
    
    These Small Donor Groups will be able to contribute to candidates in “any amount”, i.e. they are not limited by any other campaign spending limits set forth in the measure (Section 2 (ad), Section 3 (f)).
    
    While corporations or businesses may form these Small Donor Groups, the proposal limits aggregation to corporations and their affiliates, not business association based groups like AOI. Unions, on the other hand, are limited to the same labor organization unit at any level, which is no different from their current structure for political contribution collection.</i>
    
  • Ernie (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The Statesman Journal endorsed Measures 46 and 47 today. Read it here or here.

    Their comments include:

    "Big campaign contributions have such an insidious effect on politicians that measures 46 and 47 are a worthwhile gamble for Oregon voters."

    "Some people legitimately worry about amending Oregon's free-speech provisions through Measure 46. However, it's not surprising that so many other groups and individuals are opposed: They'd lose their clout.

    They want campaign-finance "reform" that restricts the other guy, not them."

    "But with access comes power. Measures 46 and 47 would return power where it belongs.

    To the people of Oregon."

    Read the full editorial. I'd say the Statesman Journal pretty much destroys the opposition's arguments.

  • Karl Smiley (unverified)
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    I started reading this thread not sure about how I was going to vote on #s 46 & 47. I'm sure I'm going to vote for them now. Tom's and Ernie's arguments were clear and sound, but what nailed it for me was LT's arguments. She pushed a button. I was one of those guys that went to rallies and saw old people, women and kids get chased and clubbed. We had no moral standing in Vietnam, just as we have none in Iraq, to dither about "intelligent approaches". We just needed and need to get the H out now. Jeeze, the nazi eugeneticists thought they were using the "intelligent approach".

    If measures 46 & 47 work, they could really invigorate grass roots politics in Oregon. If they don't, I'm now convinced that they couldn't make it much worse.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    RE: Dan Meek's comment:

    So, we can see why AOI opposes Fair Elections Measures 46 & 47, but why do unions oppose it? Could it be that union staff has given advice that fits their personal interests [higher cash flow through union political accounts] instead of the interests of union members [a significant proportional advantage over corporate enemies of labor in M47's creation of small donor committees]?

    That seems to be what Missus R wrote above. I note that no opponent of Fair Elections has commented on what she wrote. Perhaps Mark Weiner or Lisa Grove would like to make their role in the opposition campaign clear.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
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    Tahler repeats the tired slur about the Fair Elections campaign being investigated. As anyone familiar with Oregon politics knows, if a complaint is made to the Elections Division, there is, officially, an investigation made. Someone associated with OurOregon made that charge several months ago. Nothing has come of it because their was no basis for the complaint.

    The anti-Fair Elections campaign may be run by progressives, but their tactics are pure Chuck Adams.

  • (Show?)

    Ernie,

    As you probably know, I am totally with you and Tom on supporting 46/47, in fact I've already voted for both.

    One minor point is that the Rural Organizing Project has taken a neutral position on these ballot measures.

    BTW: I wrote you in for Clackamas County Clerk........

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pat,

    According to the ROP website, they suggest a NO vote on 46 and a YES vote on 47. This, of course, makes little sense, as most of M47 cannot go into effect without M46.

    <h2>ROP</h2>
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