The price of opposing Measures 46 and 47

By Dr. David Goldman of Portland, Oregon. David describes himself as a "software developer, science fiction writer, and former family doctor."

An open letter to ACLU of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Democratic Party of Oregon, NARAL Oregon, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Oregon, and their corresponding national organizations...

Dear Progressive Political Organization:

I have been a regular contributor to your organization for many years. In fact, for most of the above-listed organizations my bank account has been programmed to make automatic quarterly donations.

In the November 2006 elections here in Oregon, your organization (or the Oregon chapter of your national organization) sponsored opposition to Ballot Measures 46 and 47.

In opposing these campaign finance reform measures, your sponsored materials presented exaggerations, misstatements, and outright lies.

Your sponsored materials also claimed that you do support meaningful campaign finance reform, but that Measures 46 and 47 were not the correct approach to accomplish such reform.

I agree with you that meaningful reform is essential. I have concluded that the disproportionate voice in political decisions accorded to large corporations and the wealthy so out-shouts that of progressive individuals and groups that my donations to the latter are currently largely wasted.

Therefore, until your organization publicly endorses and supports specific, concrete measures aimed at meaningful campaign finance reform, I will no longer be one of your contributors.

In the meantime, the money I would have sent to you will instead be directed to progressive organizations that did support Measures 46 and 47.

Sincerely,
David W. Goldman, M.D.

Note:

Here's a list of organizations that opposed ballot measures 46 and 47. Here's a list of organizations that supported these ballot measures.

Comments

  • RayCeeYa (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Isn't this a bit of an over reaction. I voted against those measures because I didn't like the way they were written. It's true that there needs to be some kind of campaign finance reform. However, I didn't feel those measures addressed the issue properly. If you are going to pull your support from a group would it make more sense to pull support from a group that supported a bad ballot measure, instead of a group that was against a measure that may have been a poor choice?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Sorry, but as someone who just finished an email exchange with a friend where I described my involvement in 1994 Measure 9 campaign finance reform and my friend wrote back " I enjoyed your comments/history on the background re: Measure 9...", I have to stand up for the people who support campaign finance reform but opposed 46 and 47.

    Without having the text in front of me, I don't recall all the details. But I seem to remember there were questions about interpretation: would it have crippled the Oregon Bus Project, would it have had a different effect on urban campaigns (where the driving distance is smaller) than rural campaigns? Would it have involved more time fundraising because the contribution amounts were too low? If it takes 10 people contributing $100 each to reach $1,000 because no one is allowed to give $500 or $1000, doesn't that take time away from talking with voters? Why were these measures better than Clean Campaign/ Public Financing reform ideas?

    Because of my experience on 20th century campaign finance reform efforts, I know some of the people involved in 46 & 47. Some of them tend to be purists of the "support our solution or you don't really care about our issue" variety. Such people seldom win elections because Oregonians reserve the right to think for themselves, read measures, and debate the details.

    Dr. David, I am not an active member of any of the groups you mention--as a matter of fact have sometimes argued with members of those organizations. But I suggest you look here on Blue Oregon and see the objections of ordinary folks like myself to those measures. I'd love to see restrictions of the sort debated at the Public Comm. on the Legislature, I am uncomfortable with caucus fundraising (Future Pac, Majority 2006 etc.) and think it would be more transparent if all the money went directly to candidates.

    Having looked at my state rep's C & E I know there are lots of things that are not clear to the individual reading (a payment to the caucus or elsewhere for "management"--exactly what does that mean?) and it is disgusting how much out of state money goes to some incumbents.

    I don't like being pressured into "this is the only language available on the subject, take it or leave it", regardless of the issue. That means 46& 47, that also means the people who said anyone who didn't support Measure 43 was "pro-abortion" and didn't know how to react to someone like me who said "This is the language of the 1995 SB 1126 which I oppose, but I supported the Wisconsin bill in the 1980s which handled this issue more intelligently".

    I understand your frustration, but believe it or not, individuals do have power even if they don't belong to organizations. That is another reform we need--treating Oregon voters as individuals, not as "which group do you belong to?" robots who support the partyline of whatever group they belong to.

  • (Show?)

    Yadda, yadda, yadda, you guys. Don't change the subject.

    I think the good doctor has issued a perfectly reasonable challenge to all those individuals and organizations who opposed 46 and 47 while chorusing their strong support for campaign finance reform.

    I was there at the city club debate when the person representing the anti 46 and 47 campaign told us how important campaign finance reform was to their sponsoring organizations and pledged that they would all be working on a proposal they could support once the election was over.

    Doesn't seem like a bit of an overreaction to me to let them know you expect them to follow through.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    David is just another example of ill-informed Oregon/NW fuzzy thinkers who haunt these pages and the activist community who don't have the vaguest idea of even what the true meaning of "progressive" is, much less have a well reasoned approach to advancing the progressive position on the issues. I voted against Measure 46 and 47 because, frankly, they were dumb measures put on the ballot by weak thinkers that would have had very bad consequences.

    David, I'll side with the ACLU and most of the rest of the list you cite any day in their arguments. To you and doretta I'll say at least several of those groups, including the ACLU, have been on the front lines for years, and especially the last several years, fighting a lot harder than most of us, and certainly you too if this thread is any guide, can even pretend to argue we've been doing.

    It has been well argued, and unrefuted elsewhere on this blog, why Measures like 46 and 47 benefit incumbents and the well-connected. That makes them quite the opposite of progressive. If anybody wants to argue the point about whether the arguments of 46/47 supporters were soundly refuted, do the responsible thing and use the Google box in the upper right corner of this page to dig out the threads and refute the arguments against 46 and 47 made there.

    Although your letter strongly implies you really don't want to do anything useful to clean up the current mess of money in campaigns David, perhaps other than unintentionally providing us with useful object lessons about how far too many vocal NWers and Oregonians are too uninformed to know they aren't progressive, put your energy and your writing skills behind the constitutional goal of reclaiming the public communication commons so that all candidates have equal access. You ought to be able make at least as persuasive argument on behalf of this worthwhile goal as that nutcase Crichton made against the scientific fact of global warming.

    More speech and freer access to the public communication commons, not mis-conceived attempts to stifle speech which the powerful will always find ways to evade, is the solution in a representative democracy. Money will genuinely becomes less important if and we work just as hard on restoring that genuinely more progressive and democratic environment, as too many are on ill-conceived and unconstitutional campaign finance reforms like Measures 46 and 47.

    If you need something concrete to work on Jan 2: Start lobbying the new Democratic majorities in both houses of the U.S. Congress, and our state legislature to petition Congress, for a reinstatement of the Fariness Doctrine and for laws under the Commerce Clause to outlaw this kind of anti-competitive BS:

    http://www.1240talkcity.com/ (Look down in the lower right corner)

    http://www.1240talkcity.com/pdf/20061103BlackListMemo.pdf

    (Those of you mid-valley folks bemoaning the loss of progressive talk 990AM, this is the biggest reason. They were an ABC Radio network station. Of course, the failure of mid-valley "progressive" local business folks to advertise on 990AM didn't help.)

  • (Show?)

    To PL I say again, quit changing the subject.

    Your defense of the ACLU et al was the wispiest of straw men. David indicated he's been giving them money for years. From his description, odds are good he's given them more money than you have. He's made it perfectly clear he has taken the action he has because he does believe in those causes and has supported those organizations.

    David's post implies he doesn't want to do anything useful to clean up the money mess?

    Chriton and global warming?

    Kitchen sink anyone?

    You might want to think twice about accusing other people of fuzzy thinking.

    I'm glad to see MIPRAP and others taking on the media issue. I'm not naive enough to see that as the panacea you apparently think it is.

    The folks who campaigned against 46 and 47 were free to argue that your focus on media access is the way to go to mitigate the effects of money in politics. They didn't. They said they were in favor of campaign finance reform and would be working on a viable proposal.

    They pledged it and David wants to see it. Nothing fuzzy about that thinking.

  • John Napolitano (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Here in Oregon, the large amounts of money that corporations pay to influence politics for their own interests is considered constitutionally protected speech. The corrupting influence of that is far reaching. Sooner or later we will have to pass something like M46 to put "We the people" in charge of the political process once again. I am hoping that that the many groups that I respect that sided with the pro-corporation status quo on M46, will show some interest in campaign finance the next time around.

  • jim karlock (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I see we are trying to bring back the black lists of the 50's

    Thanks JK

  • (Show?)

    Jim, I don't agree with Dr. David - but there's a far, far cry from what he's doing (withholding his donations) and what the McCarthyites were doing in the 1950s.

    By likening the two, you minimize what the McCarthyites did - which is likely the opposite of what you intend. (Sort of like calling George Bush a "Nazi" -- it minimizes the horrors of the actual Nazis.)

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Folks, the best comment on all this is probably

    http://www.blueoregon.com/2006/11/house_dems_lead.html

    Posted by: Tom Civiletti | Nov 13, 2006 1:23:25 PM

    With Dave Hunt, who endorsed Measure 46, as majority leader [damn, that sounds good] and Peter Buckley, who admitted that something like Measure 46 is necessary to limit campaign contributions in Oregon, as an assistant majority leader, it goes without saying that the House will pass a referral of a constitutional amendment to allow campaign contribution limits.

    Right, guys?

  • (Show?)

    To make myself clear: I do agree with Dr. David that there's a whole lot of organizations that, as Doretta puts it, need to find some sort of campaign finance reform to be for.

    Perhaps taking a cue from Governor Gregoire and launching a statewide public campaign financing program, starting with judges.

  • (Show?)

    Campaign finance - and the reporting thereof, and maybe the ability to enforce what reporting requirements we have - is a huge problem.

    It looks to me like of the $70,000 Oregonians in Action put into Measure 39 (via Oregon Family Farm Assn and then Neighbors Helping Neighbors), about $65,000 of it was in unreportable under-$100 contributions.

    So, 650 people gave $100 (or even more gave smaller amounts to the cause.) For the ballot measure that generated the least media attention of all. Generating about half the total amount that went to it.

    Right.

    "Chicago-based Americans for Limited Government is supporting this crop of initiatives," says an Oregonian reporter, referring to measures in numerous states resembling our 37 and 39. (ALG is the group headed by TaBOR-backer Howie Rich, and was a major vehicle for him funneling $15 million into initiatives in 14 states this year.)

    So the coordination is coming from out of state, and half of the contributions are unreportable - that's the half that came through its partner group. How convenient. Am I the only one who has a hard time believing that?

    I'd say we'd better do something about campaign finance, and fast!

    (note: I'm pretty new to C&E analysis, and would welcome any critique if I've made mistakes.)

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete, you might want to check and see if the PCOL transcripts of their last few meetings are still on their website (link should be on the home page of the legislative website) or only the final report.

    The funding of ballot measures was discussed in depth, and as I recall they decided the only practical way to police what you talk about (without the money and logistics for structural changes to the current system) would be to list (in the voter pamphlet) the contributors to getting the measure on the ballot, if they are Oregonians, and where they get their money.

    Several years ago there was a proposal to have sep. legal entitities for qualification of a measure on the ballot and actually passing the measure. So, in the instance you cite, ALG would be able to contribute to "Committee to qualify this issue for the ballot" but the day it qualifies that legal entity dies. (Like the presidential system--if Kerry runs in 2008 then Kerry 2008 is a sep. legal entity than Kerry 2006-- I think there was some court/ legal action on that in the 1980s.)

    Committee to pass Measure 39 would then have to start up from scratch and report all money from the qualifying committee as I understand it. Under the proposal I heard debated at PCOL, in the same situation, the voters pamphlet would say "The top funder for getting this on the ballot was ALG. the group headed by TaBOR-backer Howie Rich (name of group and chief funder), and in terms of money contributed to that effort, the next four largest contributors were..."

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    No one changed the subject doretta. What the ACLU has always promised is to protect our civil liberties to the best of their considerable ability, even if that means opposing ill-conceived campaign finance reform measures. Interpretations of their public statements are all in the befuddled minds of the clueless. Unlike you and Dave, some of us have the brains to be able to ask the question: What problem are the anti-progressive Measure 46 and 47 supporters claiming to be trying to solve, and to point out why they are too dumb to realize their measure doesn't even solve the problem they purport to be addressing. If you had bothered to lookup the previous threads on this subject where this was debated you would have been able to get a clue. My support for the ACLU and some of the other organizations is based on their intelligent approach to actually understanding and solving the real problems we face, not if they get on board with some non-solution to a misunderstood problem in the way you and Dave want.

    By the way, you have no idea what my level of support for the ACLU or relationship to the ACLU might be; why would you be so arrogant and stupid as to make any assertions in that regard?

    Although I generally like what you have to say LT, I'm not sure what your precise point is with the comment quoting Tom Civiletti:

    With Dave Hunt, who endorsed Measure 46, as majority leader [damn, that sounds good] and Peter Buckley, who admitted that something like Measure 46 is necessary to limit campaign contributions in Oregon, as an assistant majority leader, it goes without saying that the House will pass a referral of a constitutional amendment to allow campaign contribution limits.

    It does not sound good at all to me that Dave Hunt is the best we have to offer for Majority Leader if it turns out he is too dense to grasp that some very clear-thinking voters just rejected a constitutional amendment to allow campaign contribution limits (e.g. Measure 46). Remember the full text of Measure 46, which is all that matters, was simply:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the people through the initiative process, or the Legislative Assembly by a three-fourths vote of both Houses, may enact and amend laws to prohibit or limit contributions and expenditures, of any type or description, to influence the outcome of any election.

    http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/nov72006/guide/meas/m46_text.html

    I'd also like to ask you, John Napolitano, to lead us carefully through your deductive argument why the people are not in charge of the political process (We are the voters aren't we? We even have two-year term limits on representatives, four-year term limits on the governor, and six-year term limits on senators since we get to vote 'em in or out that often.) and exactly how something like M46 is going to rectify whatever problem it is that you think you perceive. I'm confident you can't do the first thing, and you can't construct an articulate and precise statement of the second.

    Picking up on this last point, I challenge all of you and Dave to do what a freshman in high school would be required to do if he or she made such didactic assertions in a government class:

    1) Set out a well-reasoned argument how the kind of campaign finance reform contemplated in M46/M47 is progressive in any accepted sense of that word.

    2) State concisely and present a rigorous analysis of whatever problem it is you perceive with our political system that you believe M46/M47 solves. Simply saying "money", or the "people are not in charge", is not an argument, it's a thesis that must be proven, and simply making that assertion without supporting argument would earn you a well-deserved "F".

    3) Once you've done 2) present a well-reasoned argument how M46/M47 style reforms would purportedly solve that problem.

    Finally, Kari, although we have our differences, reading some of your past posts on the topic it seems you have a reasonably perceptive take on this particular issue that I agree with in some relevant ways. I'm not a fan of Gregoire because of her lack of any perceivable shred of personal character integrity (this is not the place to go into her venal behavior leading up to and in the 2004 election, which was quite embarrassing to solid progressive Democrats), but I think the general idea of reducing the degree to which judges have to be politicians is a good idea. A far better idea, however, is to not make judges elected at all,because they still have to whore for votes (and a distressing number of WA and OR judge candidates do a job at that which would make Heidi Fleiss proud). If some of you are too immature to be able to deal with that unvarnished adult statement of the truth, maybe this form the Oregon Bar Association will offend less:

    Judging in Oregon http://www.osbar.org/publications/bulletin/05nov/parting.html

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Political logic:

    Much of what you say is intelligent. There is a problem with how judges are chosen. But as the granddaughter of a state Supreme Court justice (in another state in the 1930s) I would point out that there can be a problem with appointed justices if the person doing the appointing has the soul of a political machine. If a person is appointed Justice because someone doesn't like the work they are doing in elective office, that could also be a problem. Of course with the Internet and other means of communication, news travels faster now than in the 1930s.

  • John Napolitano (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'd also like to ask you, John Napolitano, to lead us carefully through your deductive argument why the people are not in charge of the political process (We are the voters aren't we?

    Lobbyists and their money matter more than you and me. Special interest money (which is constitutionally protected speech until we pass something like M46), is what our representatives in Salem have to rely on to be re-elected. And if one of the most powerful special interests is against a proposal, you will hear a lot of elected representatives of both parties talk about "not wanting to spend political capital" as an excuse not to bring it to the floor. Take a look at what the homebuilders association, the beer and wine lobby, and the restaurant association have opposed in the past session. Take a look at Nike, and how much the 30 year zoning exemption is worth. Or just take a look at the billions in tax breaks that bring the percentage of the overall taxes paid by corporations to the lowest in the nation. As a taxpayer and a school activist, I find it frustrating to see how little the voters matter compared to special interest money when it comes to creating new legislation.

  • (Show?)

    six-year term limits on senators

    PL, minor correction: State Senators have four year terms.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    To quote doretta, "Yadda, yadda, yadda."

    I ran into only one reasonable objection to Measure 47 in the hundreds of hours of discussion in which I took part. That was Jo Anne Bowman's concern that nonprofits would need to treat voter registration drives organized around a ballot measure position as in-kind contributions. Beyond that, I saw enough red herrings and straw men to supply a large organic farm with fertilizer and mulch. The super majority requirement in Measure 46 was a bona fide point of contention. I thought it was reasonable, but could understand others not agreeing. Beyond that, as opponent Representative Peter Buckley admitted, something like Measure 46 would be necessary to ever control the money flowing into political campaigns in Oregon.

    Politicallogic should read his/her own writing before calling Fair Elections supporters "dumb":

    "What problem are the anti-progressive Measure 46 and 47 supporters claiming to be trying to solve, and to point out why they are too dumb to realize their measure doesn't even solve the problem they purport to be addressing. If you had bothered to lookup the previous threads on this subject where this was debated you would have been able to get a clue."

    It's difficult to carry on cogent conversation with someone whose language skills preclude clear statements. Furthermore, if Politicallogic wants to understand the need for limiting campaign contributions by wealthy interests, he/she should consult some of the many well researched and well argued works on the subject. If he/she "had bothered to lookup the previous threads on this subject where this was debated", he/she would have found reference to some of these writing in one of my comments.

    Doctor Goldman's post in right on target. The recent campaign saw many of Oregon's "progressive" organizations aggressively opposing measures that would have tipped the fund raising balance toward the candidates that these organizations usually support. I say "usually" because the last election cycle saw Oregon AFSCME support Karen Minnis's re-election bid, among other sordid positions by supposedly progressive Fair Elections opponents. Who, exactly, is progressive and who is not?

    Why would Doctor Goldman or other progressives invest money in organizations that campaign against measures that would have made their own campaign dollars more effective in electing progressive candidates? It would be a bit like watching half of one's contribution used as tinder to start a campfire around which "progressive" organization staffers could gather to sing "Kumbayha". I, for one, like to see my contributions used to maximum effect for the issues I support.

    I'm afraid Doctor Goldman will be waiting a long time to see these organizations take the lead in formulating real campaign finance reform for Oregon. That is because they could care less about anything that disturbs their business as usual, especially their cash flow. Democracy be damned. The will of the people be damned. Effective government be damned. As is usual in all times and all places, the first purpose of any organization is to maximize its own power. That makes me sad to write, but I fear it is true.

  • (Show?)

    I'd like to move this conversation in another direction.

    That is, toward solutions - and away from recriminations.

    Given that Oregonians rejected the constitutional amendment, what can we do on campaign finance reform that would NOT require amending the constitution?

  • DSS (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Mr. Napolitano, you seem to suggest that certain parties have purchased legislation from the Oregon legislature.

    Allow me to seize upon one example: Nike and the 30-year annexation exemption...

    How much money did the key votes receive? I recall that as the Senator who represented the Nike campus, Charlie Ringo championed the exemption (though for a smaller time frame). how much did Nike give to his re-election campaign? ...and it's not at all related to the hundreds of new jobs Nike could choose to place in either Beaverton or Canada?

    Last session, animal rights activists pushed a foie gras ban through the Oregon Senate. Was that because PETA is such a large donor come election time?

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    A false choice, I believe, Kari.

    Only something like Clean Elections could work without limiting contributions, and in practice, other states with Clean Elections have contribution limits as well. Take a look at what happened to Clean Elections in California this year: a 3:1 loss!

    If Oregon voters support contribution limits, as M47's passage suggests, it is a matter of education to make them realize that a constitutional amendment is the way to protect the limits they support.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tom you are right, but there is a difference between "a constitutional amendment is the way to protect the limits they support." and "the wording of Measure 46 is the only wording available, and anyone who questions that wording doesn't really care about campaign finance reform".

    I think one thing that bothered some people was that "superduper majority" thing which seemed to assume ballot measure voters presented with specific ballot measure language are always better than legislative referral where public hearings are held. Telling voters that ballot measures without public debate on the wording are the only way to control election spending may not be the best strategy. There are some people who give constit. amendments special scrutiny because that device has been overused in the past.

    It may well be that we need a constitutional amendment, but I refuse to believe that ballot measure sponsors writing the language are better than public hearings about the language of a constitutional amendment. Legislators are elected and I am tired of hearing that the wisdom of people who write ballot measures is always to be assumed to be greater than the wisdom of elected officials debating measure language publicly.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Some of you read the actual words of 46 and you approve? All I can say is I'm pretty glad you don't get to take your editor's blue pencil to the Bill of Rights like GWB has. You can read that mess and not see just exactly how badly wrong that can go? You cannot fix a problem by screwing something else up without facing the Law Of Unintended Consequences, and it's a bitch.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari, I am going to take your challenge but some may not like my question.

    FP has something called House Builders which seems to me to be a way for people to contribute to legislative candidates without anyone being able to find out who contributed to which candidate. Would it take a constitutional amendment to require that all contributions go directly to candidates and not through caucuses?

    I don't necessarily mean no organizational donors, but in the above example Tom used, everyone should know who AFSCME donates to, just as they should know which incumbents get more money from out of state (at any point in the process) than their challenger is collecting in total contributions. Closer examination of what are called caucus campaign arms (which I don't recall having the same role 20 years ago) such as Future Pac and Majority 2006 shouldn't need an amendment.

    Since those seem closer to disclosure than to contribution limits, couldn't that just be a statute or at least the subject of some sort of hearings? As I recall, Sen. G. Kerans had some hearings on campaign finance reform in the early 1990s. Might be a good project for someone to research what happened in those hearings.

    DSS, did Sen. Ringo run for re-election, or did he retire after one term and move to another part of the state?

    Tom, you keep saying things like "Beyond that, as opponent Representative Peter Buckley admitted, something like Measure 46 would be necessary to ever control the money flowing into political campaigns in Oregon."

    Be very clear--if someone sees the need for campaign finance reform (as I do) but questioned the 46 wording (as I did) are they an "opponent" of the whole movement, or just of 46?

    Sounds like you are saying Rep. Buckley opposes campaign finance reform. That strikes me as something called "broadbrush" which is often popular with people who seem more interested in getting their way than in selling an idea to the general public. In commercial sales, "buy this or else" is generally a lot less successful than "this is why our product is better than their product and I will be willing to answer any questions you may have".

  • (Show?)

    If you had bothered to lookup the previous threads on this subject where this was debated you would have been able to get a clue.

    Gosh, PL, I posted in most of those other threads. Exactly who is it that doesn't have a clue?

    By the way, you have no idea what my level of support for the ACLU or relationship to the ACLU might be; why would you be so arrogant and stupid as to make any assertions in that regard?

    Huff, puff, puff. Careful, you might blow that straw man down. It gets more insubstantial every time you bring up the ACLU. Personally, I love the ACLU. I merely noted from David's description of his past relationship with them that, statistically speaking, he's no doubt given them more financial support than the overwhelming majority of Americans, in which category, statistically speaking, you are likely to reside. You are free to refute that and claim your even loftier minority status--although I did notice that despite the huffing and puffing you have so far declined to do so.

    As Tom C. pointed out, your three points were covered extensively in those other threads you mentioned, but in any event, that whole argument about 46 and 47 is largely irrelevant in this case and does indeed amount to changing the subject. You may be stuck there but David isn't. He did not say that he will never support those organizations again because of their opposition to measures 46 and 47. He said they need to earn his support back by doing what they themselves said needed to be done--proposing and supporting whatever campaign finance reform they do think is appropriate.

    Interpretations of their public statements are all in the befuddled minds of the clueless.

    Far be it from me to challenge your expertise in the area of befuddled minds and cluelessness but let's ask the other BlueOregonians who were there whether I misinterpreted what the designated spokesperson for the anti 46 and 47 side said about what her supporting organizations thought about campaign finance reform and what they considered the right thing to do instead of passing 46 and 47. I assure you, the statements made there were not the least bit ambiguous or befuddling. Better yet, Chris, do you happen to have a transcript?

  • (Show?)

    Sorry, I edited the reference to the City Club debate on 46 and 47 out of my last comment. That's the "there" mentioned in my last paragraph.

  • (Show?)

    With the new C&E reporting system, you'll be able to "follow the money" as it changes hands from PAC to PAC. So unless a PAC is doing less than the $2K limit (or their donors are mostly small and therefore lumped together), you'll be able to see where their contributions came from that led to them being able to donate to another candidate/PAC.

    I know many of you haven't been able to see the new system, but I have. I went to one of the trainings. And I must say that I can't wait to be able to use the new public system.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    LT,

    Contrary to your implication, Fair elections supporters requested, supported, and cajoled legislators to pick up the ball on campaign finance reform. They refused. It is not a matter of ballot measure authors feeling superior, it is a matter of legislators failing to act. Perhaps that will change. Perhaps it won't.

    I did not write and I do not claim the Peter Buckley opposes campaign finance reform. He was a spokeman for the anti-Fair Elections campaign, though.

    There can be alternatives to Measure 46, but as Buckley conceded, they would not be much different than M46.

    All I see from Chuck Butcher is characterization. He discusses none of the language of either of the Fair Elections measures. Of course, that was the character of much of the anti-Fair Elections campaign, and why it was so similar to the anti-Prop 27 campaign in California. It's much easier to oppose the mirage you create than to discuss the real language of an initiative.

  • (Show?)

    Tom wrote, Only something like Clean Elections could work without limiting contributions...

    Nah... are we really that uncreative? Clean Money (i.e. Voter-Owned Elections) is one good alternative, but it can't possibly be the only campaign finance reform possible.

    LT wrote, Would it take a constitutional amendment to require that all contributions go directly to candidates and not through caucuses?

    At least you're thinking outside the box. I doubt that you could ban caucus committees without banning all PACs. After all, legally a caucus committee is nothing but a PAC. And you probably couldn't ban PACs without amending the constitution. I'm no lawyer, but that's my guess.

    (This is off-topic, but I'll take issue with your contention that FuturePAC exists solely to hide donor contributions. For many FuturePAC donors - including me - we believe in the notion of strong political parties and strong party caucuses. I wanted to win a majority, and I didn't particularly care much which candidates got us there.)

    LT wrote... Since those seem closer to disclosure than to contribution limits, couldn't that just be a statute or at least the subject of some sort of hearings?

    Now you're talking. Better disclosure is absolutely necessary. It's not enough, but we can certainly move to disclosure. Personally, I believe we ought to have monthly disclosure of contributions and expenditures. We also ought to have 24-hour disclosure of all $1000+ contributions and 48-hour disclosure of ALL contributions made in the last 14 days. That disclosure ought to be electronic -- for all campaigns. (Via data upload from bookkeeping software, or a web-based form for smaller campaigns.)

    Finally, Tom wrote Fair elections supporters requested, supported, and cajoled legislators to pick up the ball on campaign finance reform. They refused.

    You were under the impression that Karen Minnis and Wayne Scott might pass campaign finance reform?

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I'm with Chuck Butcher 100% on this. I think we clearly see how arrogant fools like doretta, and struggling thinkers like Tom, are good examples of precisely who we DON'T want rewriting our state constitution.

    John Napolitano, why do you believe campaign contributions are the reason that state legislators dole out favors? The reality is most of our legislators are at least smart enough to hold out for far more meaningful career and personal benefits than campaign contributions in exchange for favorable legislation. Too many NW progressives, on the other hand, are easily distracted by shiny objects as we see in this debate.

  • (Show?)

    I disagree with the post very much. I am a free expression absolutist. I could never support any measure that weakens the free expression provisions of Article I, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution in any way.

  • Ed Bickford (unverified)
    (Show?)

    It seems that CFR spins up passions to reason-suppressing levels like few other issues. Why is that? Maybe because it's affecting people's bread-and-butter sourcing (hat-tip to Kari for maintaing equanimity), or because of the frustrating complexity of the issue which has far-reaching implications, and because it pits one against the all-too-human propensity for obfuscating one's manipulation of others for personal gain. I do not appreciate 'politicallogic' attempting to spin-up passions with personal attacks. It makes him inimical to actual "political logic."

  • Charlie Burr (unverified)
    (Show?)

    A list of organizations supporting public financing (Ballot Measure 6 from year 2000) can be found here. At least two organizations listed by Dr. Goldman -- Oregon League of Conservation Voters and ACLU -- submitted ballot measure statements in support.

    More recently, both OLCV and several unions helped defend Portland's Voter-Owned Election system against a potential repeal in the primary. There's pretty broad consensus that our system of privately funded elections needs to be reformed; there are plenty of progressive organizations who -- while not necessarily supportive of 46 & 47 -- have been actively involved with this issue.

  • (Show?)

    Bear,

    I'd like to hear you say more - I suspect we might have some disagreement, but I have a lot of respect for your perspective and your legal knowledge. The section of the Constitution you reference is brief:

    Section 8. Freedom of speech and press. No law shall be passed restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print freely on any subject whatever; but every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right. — Oregon Constitution

    I'm guessing that you acknowledge that there's some kind of problem, but reject the notion that restriction of rights is an acceptable solution.

    I believe that leaves two possible approaches to crafting a solution:

    • strengthen reporting requirements, and/or facilitate the enforcement of them;
    • provide incentives for parties to voluntarily give up their rights, in a specific context (like voter-owned elections.)
    Do you have a problem with either of those solutions? Do you endorse one over the other? Or is there another kind of approach I'm missing?

  • (Show?)

    Jenni:

    What's this new system you're talking about? Will the government finally be giving us something better than piles of PDFs? If so, when?

    Thanks! -Pete

  • (Show?)

    LT,

    Thanks for sending me to the Public Commission on the Oregon Legislature report.

    The Initiative Reform section looks OK, but pretty minimal. And most important, it would do nothing to address the ability of PACs to hide their contributors by two methods: (1) the "under $100" designation, and (2) endless strings of PACs that give to other PACs.

    Here's the summary of the PCOL recommendations:

      SUMMARY
      Requires chief petitioners of state initiative or referendum petitions to be registered to vote in Oregon.

      Directs Secretary of State to determine and print in voters' pamphlet for each state initiative or referendum measure number of signatures obtained in each county, percentage of total number of signatures obtained that are obtained in each county and percentage of electors in each county who signed petition.

      Directs Secretary of State to determine and print in voters' pamphlet for each state initiative or referendum measure names and addresses of five persons or political committees that made greatest amount of contributions in support of obtaining signatures on state initiative or referendum petition.

      Directs Secretary of State to include in voters' pamphlet description of procedures for filing complaint involving alleged violation of laws governing initiative and referendum petitions and description of penalties applicable to violations.

    There's also a section on Legislative Campaign Finance Reform, which is even less informative (calling for the creation of another committee, and declaring an emergency.) Not sure if direct legislation/ballot initiatives fall under that category or not.

    Again, thanks for the suggestion. But it looks to me like those recommendations don't go nearly far enough.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Frankly, Ed Bickford, reading over your past posts I don't appreciate the juvenile whining that you frequently inject into discussions. I also don't appreciate your childish objections to accurate characterizations of those who want to tear up significant free expression protections in our constitution. Your comments are every bit the personal attack because you lecture sophmorically about manner of expression rather than address substance. This is an approach that is all too common amongst those who have nothing constructive to add to the debate and, thankfully, make themselves relatively irrelevant as a result.

    So here's some more reality for you to splutter about in your next little snide post: Those who want to tear up the Constitution have to convince people to take an action, which is typically done in the political sphere through an emotional appeal to values. It is the supporters of M46/M47 that have to whip up emotions by a giving vague definition to a problem, and then giving people an easy target at which to vent that emotion (like right wing nut jobs do with "liberals", funny how NW "progressives" seem to like to play that same game) by marking "Yes". Those of us who are defending the constitution are pretty much just exposing the proponents for what they are. So you have a choice, do you just want to be a very visible whiner who concerns yourself with irrelevancies, or do you want to defend our core values enshrined in our constitution?

    I also want to address John Napolitano's faulty thinking head on:

    1) What money is it specifically that you refer to here with this vague generality?

    Lobbyists and their money matter more than you and me. Special interest money (which is constitutionally protected speech until we pass something like M46), is what our representatives in Salem have to rely on to be re-elected.

    CFR deals with the relatively narrow category of campaign financing, not the complex of other business and personal relationships between legislators and power interests represented by those lobbyists that actually determine the values a legislator will exercise in casting votes. Some of that is, or at least should be, the subject of ethics laws other than campaign spending that few here have the stomach or the brains to even start to address. Most of it is outside the realm of what we should legislate against in a free society.

    2) A propos of my last comment, in this next assertion:

    And if one of the most powerful special interests is against a proposal, you will hear a lot of elected representatives of both parties talk about "not wanting to spend political capital" as an excuse not to bring it to the floor.

    what leads you to even start to believe (since you don't offer the barest thread of an argument) that the "political capital" you say they refer to is direct campaign funding by powerful interests? Does it even occur to you first that a lot of legislators will say things like this as an excuse to distract citizens who aren't as bright as they think they are (people like Bickford immediately come to mind here since he obviously is easily distracted from the issues by people who offend his juvenile sensibilities)? Do you know enough about campaigning to know that the real value that power interests offer to a candidate is the ability to move whole groups of donors and voters to explicitly and implicitly support their candidacy? This ranges from sponsoring fundraisers attended by large numbers of private citizens of like mind who can and do all give small personal donations, to all the favorable buzz and visibility in the media and around a candidate those interests can generate because of their important role in our community as civic participants and employers.

    3) Continuing on the point that you are just making assertions that start from certain assumptions rather than actually examining the validity of those assumptions as you were challenged to do, I don't like some of the legislation that the power interests in this laundry list have advocated any more than you do:

    Take a look at what the homebuilders association, the beer and wine lobby, and the restaurant association have opposed in the past session. Take a look at Nike, and how much the 30 year zoning exemption is worth. Or just take a look at the billions in tax breaks that bring the percentage of the overall taxes paid by corporations to the lowest in the nation.

    However, did it ever occur to you that a lot of the legislators who made up the voting majority in each case actually don't find some of these issues in conflict enough with their own personal values to do what you believe they should do? Does the light ever even flicker on that these legislators just prefer the long-term social and career options that go with legislating in the interest of some of those interests? All in all, does it even enter your thinking (unlike Bickford who choses to dwell on the petty and irrelevant rather than engage on the substance) that maybe the behavior you don't agree with has nothing to do with the promise of relatively paltry campaign contributions, but rather the values and character of our elected officials themselves?

    4) Which brings me to the final criticism of your failed argument:

    As a taxpayer and a school activist, I find it frustrating to see how little the voters matter compared to special interest money when it comes to creating new legislation.

    Does it even occur to you at all that particularly in a state and region that prides itself on it's populist character that the legislators we have are the direct expression of what the voters want? Putting that all together, you have demonstrated nothing here that is a valid criticism of campaign financing, much less that justifies tearing up our constitution. What you've done is say your really have a big problems with the people WE chose to lead us, and therefore, since populism is our predominate social value here, that you really think there is a problem with US.

    So the final point is this: Is it that you really just don't like your fellow citizens and their values that motivates supporters of CFR? I personally contend that feeling is at the root of a lot of what we see in modern American and NW populism, which is not nearly as far removed from mob rule as it should be.

    Or worse, is that you and many of the M46/M47 supporters are so arrogant, and yet ignorant, to believe that you know better than the majority that in this last election thought tearing up the free speech protections in our constitution wasn't really such a good idea? Based on the argument of CFR supporters here, I think we have good reason to believe they aren't the kind of people who should be entrusted with the original copy of our constitution and the BIC wite-out.

    I'll repeat what I said before, if any M46/M47-style CFR supporters wants to put their time to good use, focus on progressive reforms to restore our public communications commons including restoration of the Fairness Doctrine, protecting equal access in all forms, and putting quite constitutional restrictions on commercial speech. If you really want to go for the home run, work on electing legislators who will reverse the several decade slide in recognizing corporations as persons and you'll do much more to change the power balance than ill-conceived attempts to destroy our free-speech rights.

    If that kind of straight talk about reality is too tough for you to stomach Bickford, too bad.

  • Anon (unverified)
    (Show?)

    politicallogic wrote:

    "Your comments are every bit the personal attack because you lecture sophmorically about manner of expression rather than address substance. This is an approach that is all too common amongst those who have nothing constructive to add to the debate and, thankfully, make themselves relatively irrelevant as a result."

    Then politicallogic does exactly what he critizes.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete, the final report of PCOL was what they thought doable--testimony was given about the cost and logistics of unraveling "endless strings of PACs that give to other PACs". As I recall, the concern was "We could do it, but how much time and money are you going to give us to do it?"--given the current calendar for verifying signatures, there prob. isn't enough time--or so I heard that testimony.

    Tom, I just went to the Sec. of State website and read the online voter guide. This is from the explanatory statement of Measure 46. Ballot Measure 46 requires a three-fourths (3/4) vote of both the Oregon Senate and the Oregon House of Representatives to amend previously enacted laws, or pass new laws, prohibiting or limiting political campaign contributions or expenditures. Ordinarily, a simple majority vote of both the Oregon Senate and Oregon House is required to amend existing laws or pass new laws. Under the measure, voters by a simple majority may adopt new laws or amend existing laws prohibiting or limiting political campaign contributions or expenditures.

    Some of the rhetoric here implies that anyone questioning the "superduper majority" explained in that paragraph was just "anti-46".

    There was sentiment in the legislature of the late 1990s-turn of the century that "citizen involvement" didn't mean voters talking to their legislators or watching public hearings, it only meant voters presented with measure wording written without their input, and all they could do is vote yes or no without questioning the wording. Which is why some people got so fed up they now need some convincing to vote for any ballot measure, and exceptional convincing that a constitutional ammendment is really necessary and not just more "sticky notes on the constitution". There have been initiativemeisters across the political spectrum telling us that such a system (no input on the wording, take it or leave it) is purer democracy and therefore better than representative government with voters talking to their legislators and public hearings held to hash out the specific wording. Do you believe that?

    You said "There can be alternatives to Measure 46, but as Buckley conceded, they would not be much different than M46."

    Take out the superduper majority (which gives some people the impression of absolute disrespect for any current or future legislators to do the right thing) and something like Measure 46 might pass.

    And Charlie Burr has a point about the 2000 ballot measure.

  • (Show?)

    OK, folks, let's stop the personal attacks. They don't add anything to the conversation. Please stay on topic.

  • Ernie Delmazzo (unverified)
    (Show?)

    LT,

    I believe the 3/4 vote of the legislature was there to prevent the legisture from simply making it null. It was a simple majority to change it through initiative,

    In December 2004, an emergency session of the Ohio Legislature voted to increase limits by factor of 4 and open various campaign financing loopholes for corporations. This was done by simple majority.

    In 2003, the Massachusetts Legislature, through a voice vote, repealed a public funding system passed by voters through the initiative process.

    As far as statements made by others, there's still misconception in so far as M46 and free speech. Here's what FairElections wrote.

    1. Measure 46 would not have overrided all existing Constitutional free speech protections. The official Explanatory Statement for Measure 46 stated, "The measure does not affect the free speech guarantee under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution." Read details

    2. Measure 46 would not have allowed a ballot measure or act of the Legislature to suspend our current free speech protection under the Oregon Bill Of Rights. Measure 46 only applied to prohibiting or limiting political campaign contributions or expenditures. It applied to no other field, as was recognized by the Oregon Supreme Court in Meyer v. Bradbury, 205 Or App 297, 134 P3d 1005 (2006).

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    No Anon, I attack the lack of ability of several who post here to think critically because that is a legitimate object of criticism. Too many of you have failed to progress past the grade school mentality and assert the false point that if someone attacks your lack of critical thinking skills directly that this is a personal attack removed from the substance. This is the world of adult politics where it matters whether people want to tear up our constitution. It is quite appropriate to criticize, and to ridicule, where appropriate. If you have something to add to the argument, address yourself to the rest of the posts where I directly examine the arguments of others. I don't say their arguments are false because they are stupid (that would be ad hominem attack), I present comments addressing glaring gaps in their arguments which therefore makes them, shall we say, less than brilliant. There is a fundamental difference, which you apparently you lack the reasoning skills to grasp.

    LT, you present an interesting argument about the motivations of people who voted against M46:

    Take out the superduper majority (which gives some people the impression of absolute disrespect for any current or future legislators to do the right thing) and something like Measure 46 might pass.

    As bizarre as this fact is, (not your perceptive argument), is, I think you could be correct. Rephrasing, what your comment is saying is that a constitutional amendment which is a greater assault on our free speech rights --- by further reducing the majority required for the legislature to restrict political activity than was called for in M46 --- would have a better chance of passing. If the anti-democratic "progressives" who haunt this blog are any guide, you quite certainly have point that this could be true for a large enough block of goofy Oregon voters to make the difference between passage and failure.

    Furthermore, and again judging by the voices on this thread, you quite possibly could be right that to enough soft-in-the-head Oregonians such as several who childishly whine here about having their lack of thinking skills criticized, their reason could be the bizarre view that this gives the impression of absolute disrespect for any current or future legislators to do the right thing as you state. Again rephrasing, what your comment is saying is that a measure which respected the egos of politicians more and which was less aware and concerned that NWers across the political spectrum are at times disturbingly regressive --- by not including the level of supermajority safeguards in M46 that act as a safeguard against the rise and fall of authoritarian tendencies that more often than not emerge in populist societies in response to the emotion of the mob --- would have a better chance of passing.

    To me, this failure by too many voters to understand the vital role of a constitution and the rule of law is a sad commentary on the continued deterioration of our education system and our civic dialogue in Oregon, the NW, and indeed across the country.

    I'm still with Chuck Butcher and Bear that the highest imperative is to protect our free speech rights.

    To Pete Forsyth I'll repeat there are two positive steps in a free society that comport with that imperative: 1) Increasing reporting requirements and 2) restoring free and equitable access to the public communications commons. "Voter-owned elections", at least as practiced here, are a typical backward and indirect approach to those two direct goals. Frankly, I don't want to leave the decision as to who is eligible to participate equally in "voter-owned elections" to incumbents or the populist mob. Reflecting further on LT's point, it's not a wholly unreasonable exaggeration to say that would not be giving the kind of nitwits who support M46/M47 style CFR the original copy of our constitution and a bottle of BIT wite-out, it would be giving them the document and a match.

  • (Show?)

    I can see its time for me to cut some extra large donation checks to ACLU of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Democratic Party of Oregon, NARAL Oregon, Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Planned Parenthood of Oregon, and their corresponding national organizations.

    They stood against what was quite clearly a couple of really lousy Measures..the reasons for which have been outlined ad nauseum here and other places.

    I hope others who disagree with Dr. Goldman's post here will consider doing the same.

  • (Show?)

    Pete--

    Everyone will start using the new system for their reporting in January. Some PACS (such as legislators and legislative candidates for 2008) will have a two day reporting deadline.

    All the reporting is done online. It is quite the impressive system. I think the staff at the SOS office did a great job in getting this system up in such a short period of time.

    It's called ORESTAR. You can find it here: http://www.sos.state.or.us/elections/

    If I remember correctly, previous information won't be on there-- just everything that is filed from now on.

  • (Show?)

    And I'd like to point out there were many people and organizations that did not oppose M46-- only M47.

    They believe in campaign finance reform, but did not like the specific way it was done in M47.

    The DPO, for instance, if I remember correctly opposed 47, but had no position on 46.

    Some may forget, but Peter Buckley was originally one of the people working on M46 and 47. But if memory serves me right, he left because he disagreed with the specifics on M47. He was working on his own version of campaign finance reform (we even had some info on it at the Bus Conference), but did not complete it in time for filing and signature gathering.

  • (Show?)

    askquestions1st:

    I agree that (1) increasing reporting requirements and (2) restoring free and equitable access to public communications commons are worthwhile goals.

    But I don't see how Voter-Owned Elections intends to do either. I would say it's an effort to provide incentives for politicians to voluntarily limit their spending while increasing their populist outreach.

    Judging VOE based on goals it simply doesn't have won't get us much of anywhere. There may be legitimate objections, but that ain't one. Nor is VOE very relevant here - I was just trying to get a sense of Bear's thinking.

    Getting back to the topic at hand:

    In order to assess the (hypothetical) impact of Measure 46 on the Constitution, it seems we need only compare two very small bits of text: Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, and the full text of Measure 46 (both quoted in full above.)

    I very much agree with Bear and aq1 as to the value of speech protections, but to the extent that either of you see M46 disrupting that, I don't follow the logic. It seems that Section 8 describes the ability to use what resources one has to persuade others, while M46 concerned itself with the process of gatherinig resources for such a purpose.

    Furthermore, while I feel strongly about protecting the free speech rights of individuals, extending those protections to entities like PACs, parties or corporations is something I'd only want to do after careful consideration. (In other words, I do not personally see a prima facie connection.)

    And finally, I'm curious about the "abuse of this right" phrase in the Constitution, and whether there are any legal interpretations out there clarifying that.

    I am very interested in the constitutional aspect of campaign finance, and hope that someone with more legal knowledge than me can comment on the alleged damage Measure 46 would have done to free speech protections. I'm hopeful that will help point the way to reform that will prevent electoral abuses without impinging on free speech.

  • (Show?)

    Jenni:

    Thanks for the info, I had seen the ORESTAR logo but had no idea what it was for. I had hoped something like this was in the works! If it allows for more straightforward searching/browsing of the comings and goings of dollars, I think it will be an important tool in the ongoing battle for transparency.

  • (Show?)

    Pete:

    Not a problem. I'm really looking forward to it. The test of the system that we saw at the training was really impressive. I can't wait to start searching through information.

    I like how the new system is easy to use-- no more 100+ page PDF reports. I think that once it's been out for a little while and people start using the public search tool, they're going to really like it. Other than the fact that small donors and those PACs under $2K won't show up, you'll pretty much be able to follow the dollars. It may end up being that changes are made in the future to further lower those numbers so that there is even more transparency.

  • John (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Based on the recriminations I'm seeing here, it's pretty clear that Oregon will NEVER limit campaign finance. Under federal Supreme Court rulings there is simply NO WAY to prevent monied interests from spending as much as they want on independent expenditures and on their own personal campaigns. Federal campaign finance laws work within these constraints. People have come to accept that these laws not perfect, but they are better than nothing. I don't see anyone clamoring to dismantle them. Yet, because Measure 47 COULDN'T GUARANTEE that monied interests would be prohibited from spending in these two areas, groups on Goldman's list decided to oppose the measure, even though M47 would have at least forced court challenges before falling back to a level of restrictions at least as tough as federal law. Now that the opponents have set the bar for meaningful reform at an impossible level, the only remaining possibility is for token measures riddled with loopholes.

    Thanks to M46/47 opponents, large corporations will no longer be satisfied with paying the lowest taxes in the nation. No, they'll likely be demanding negative taxes soon--you and I will have to pay them for the privilege of their presence here and for all the government services they consume. Think any legislator has the spine to resist? Think again: legislators know who funds their campaigns.

    The only alternative is for candidates to accept voluntary spending limits in exchange for public finance, something unlikely given that voters have already rejected public finance.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete Forsyth raises two points which are easily dispensed with:

    First:

    I agree that (1) increasing reporting requirements and (2) restoring free and equitable access to public communications commons are worthwhile goals.

    But I don't see how Voter-Owned Elections intends to do either. I would say it's an effort to provide incentives for politicians to voluntarily limit their spending while increasing their populist outreach.

    The primary intent of Voter-Owned Elections is to level the playing field so that folks with limited resources can compete with those with more resources. Reporting requirements level the playing field by not allowing people to hide sources of campaign funds which could be a political liability. Restoring the public communications commons levels the playing field by giving all players more equal communications opportunities, thereby greatly reducing the marginal political returns to those who spend on additional communications. At the bottom line, almost all political expenditures can be fairly characterized as being for communications in one form or another.

    The story about the intent is to get politicians to do more outreach, besides meaningless in and of itself, is one of those little NW fantasies that people here like to delude themselves with because they have the misguided belief they are so special that they deserve to have politicians fawning over them. Put another away, populist outreach here means pandering, and that hardly is a good idea to encourage or require by law.

    Second:

    It seems that Section 8 describes the ability to use what resources one has to persuade others, while M46 concerned itself with the process of gatherinig resources for such a purpose.

    The plain language of M46 renders the claim make here just flat wrong:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the people through the initiative process, or the Legislative Assembly by a three-fourths vote of both Houses, may enact and amend laws to prohibit or limit contributions and expenditures, of any type or description, to influence the outcome of any election.

    In short, contrary to what you assert, the plain intent of M46 is to allow the legislature, or the people, to prohibit or constrain how one can use what resources one has to persuade others.

    Doesn't require much more legal analysis than that: The first step any competent judge, lawyer, or para-legal takes in interpreting the law is asking what the plain English says. Only then, if they are not happy with that, do they start to explore the question of what the language could mean if they are just clever enough to persuade whoever they need to of that.

    A lawyer friend of mine once told me that the real hope of any good lawyer is that the judge will overlook the law to see it the lawyer's way. Far too many CFR proponents hope for the same thing. I don't find them nearly persuasive enough, or intellectually competent enough, to be trusted on that hope with the constitutional rights of anyone I care about.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think the time has come to approach this issue from a different perspective. The largest problem is the influence that can be purchased through campaign contributions, not the contributions themselves. Accepting support from large corporations creates a conflict of interest for those who take that support.

    Perhaps the solution is to address that conflict of interest directly by prohibiting candidates from using their official position on behalf of their benefactors.

    Of course, doing that now would result in no one being eligible to vote on most legislation. But that ought to tell you the nature of the problem. And my guess is that, once they can't get a return on their investment, a lot of corporations will decide not to make any further expenditures.

    As to the organizations that opposed measures 46 and 47, I think people need to hold them to their declared support. But rather than threatening them, which is what this post does, perhaps demanding that they come to the table to agree on a real platform of reforms would be a better approach. Most of the organizations who opposed the measures produce a wide range of public benefits. The desire to cut off ones nose to spite ones face ought to be resisted.

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    But rather than threatening them, which is what this post does, perhaps demanding that they come to the table to agree on a real platform of reforms would be a better approach.

    Great idea. Let's challenge those like ACLU who object to any campaign finance reform (not just this one) to answer the question, "Do you really believe money is speech and that someone who can only afford to contribute $10 to a candidate is thus less deserving to "speak" than a millionaire or a corporation?"

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I couldn't agree more with Ross Williams about his thesis:

    Perhaps the solution is to address that conflict of interest directly by prohibiting candidates from using their official position on behalf of their benefactors.

    This is a simple enough statement of what needs to be done. The rest of your post, which I similarly have no particular beef with, is instructive of what we see in this thread in that it includes no feasible prescriptive method for actually doing that. It is precisely this failure on the part of CFR supporters that my comment in large part have been addressing. What seems to infuriate M46/M47 style CFR reform proponents most is how easy it is to show their solutions are little more than fantasies of how they think the world should work, mixed with an arrogant disregard for the constitution, and the hard cold reality of the negative consequences of their poor thinking.

    There are a couple of straightforward, and constitutional, things that could go a long way to accomplishing the goal you and I embrace. It's just that they take real work, not fantasizing, and elected representatives with real backbone, to make happen.

    1) Genuine ethics reform that I've already alluded to at least one here. That means much more than can be pursued here beyond superficial reporting requirements and performs (I do embrace reporting reforms though). The evidence is thin, and I invite anyone to produce evidence of causation rather than just correlation) that politicians trade their votes for relatively paltry campaign contributions.

    Most of what we say with the GOP slimeballs who got caught taking illegal money is mislabelled as campaign contributions by the deceptive or dumb, but actually was outright bribery that would be the subject ethics reform. It's a little hard to argue that a sweet real estate deal which never translates into cold, hard, spendable cash while an offiicial is in office, or even something that can be pledged as collatoral, can be seen as a campaign contribution. It's equally hard to see how restricting a flesh and blood person's federal and state constitutional rights to use his or her own resources to peacefully support a candidate who represents his or her values is moral or legitimate in a democracy.

    2) Reversing the judical legislating that became explicit with Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company [118 U.S. 394 (1886)] that corporations are persons with the rights of flesh and blood people. Do that and all the obstacles to regulating corporate behavior, as well as preventing legislators from doing favors, fall away.

    The reasoning is straightforward: Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights says

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Notice how the emphasized text conflicts directly with the emphasized text in Ross's statement that I quoted.

    So long as corporations are accepted as persons, under the Due Process Clause(s), ie. the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, there is no truly intellectual honest way, nor a way which I guarantee you won't be turned first against average citizens, to prevent corporations from exercising the First Amendment right to petition government illegitimately given to them way back then.

    My personal hope is that Senator Russ Feingold, one of the smartest and principled folks in the U.S. Senate, having made an honest attempt at reforming Federal campaign laws in the spirit of what CFR proponents argue here and been rebuffed by the Court generally for the reasons I discuss above

    Court says issue ads OK during elections http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061221/ap_on_el_ge/campaign_finance_lawsuit

    will lead an effort to strip corporations of their illegimate personhood to accomplish the goal Ross states at the start of his post.

    Dr. Dave - get your pen out and start writing if you want to do something useful.

  • (Show?)

    politicalLogic:

    Re: Voter-Owned Elections: um, what? If you insist on drawing out this debate, can you skip the shorthand, and spell out your argument? I am totally lost. Probably my intellectual inferiority rearing its ugly head again, but be a sport and help me out? How exactly do you propose to eliminate pandering from a system that necessitates persuading voters to cast a ballot a certain way?

    Re: M46 vs. Constitution: oops. Looks like I utterly failed at a task I described as easy. My first 2007 resolution: no more of that!

    Still, I'm interested in opinions of the constitutionality and/or acceptability of limitations on contributions, as distinct from expenditures. However hypothetical that may be.

    Ross Williams:

    Excellent idea, and not one I've heard before. I like it, but it raises a host of questions: how would it be enforced? Would we start suing our legislators for the votes they cast? Would the penalty be fines, or resignation, or...? Would legislators start trading votes on issues they had to "recuse themselves" from? I'd like to hear more about this.

    Also, this solution wouldn't do anything to address initiative funding, which - even considering ORESTAR and the PCOL report - is an enormous problem of its own. That doesn't mean it's a bad idea, just that a different approach might be required for initiatives.

  • (Show?)

    And by the way, I completely agree that the ruling that corporations are entitled to the same protections as individuals is the central problem.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
    (Show?)

    "The evidence is thin, and I invite anyone to produce evidence of causation rather than just correlation) that politicians trade their votes for relatively paltry campaign contributions."

    The Governor doesn't vote at all. The issue has nothing to do with trading votes. The first message of a candidate to the lobby when asking for financial support is "I am going to win." They aren't buying votes, they are buying consideration. And by the time elected officials are done sorting through all the concerns of people they have promised "consideration" to, they have precious little time or political capital left for everyone else. So the typical voter has a claim on the consideration of one legislator, while the typical special interest PAC has the a claim on a majority of more of the legislators. Guess whose interest gets represented best?

    no feasible prescriptive method for actually doing that

    Of course there isn't. No method is feasible up against the power of interests who depend on campaign contributions for their power. Those interests are not just contributors, but most of the lobby in Salem.

    I don't think there is any case law that would prevent the state from establishing a strict conflict of interest law. Of course the devil is in the details and no matter what you come up it will be "poorly drafted" and too "complicated" if you are going to use the initiative process. And if you aren't, go back to square one. Because there is no way those with power will give it up willingly.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ross, as best I can tell, you're argument is based on a complete misreading of the single sentence you quote:

    "The evidence is thin, and I invite anyone to produce evidence of causation rather than just correlation) that politicians trade their votes for relatively paltry campaign contributions."

    The point of that statement is that campaign contributions are not of enough value to move a politician to do anything, despite what you might believe.

    Now support in the form of individuals exercising their rights to use their resources and social networks to support a candidate who espouses their values is another matter entirely.

    Once again, you making a sweeping statement in this regard that is seen to be more of a hope than a fact when examined critically:

    I don't think there is any case law that would prevent the state from establishing a strict conflict of interest law.

    There doesn't have to be much case law. Only the few cases, as Feingold found out, where the courts simply strike down such attempts wholesale because of huge constitutional obstacles that only some initiative sponsors, and a few of the dimmer bulbs we send to represent us, just can't seem to get through their thick heads. I personally believe Feingold's attempt was as good as it gets because he is such a smart guy, and that part of his thinking was to demonstrate this to people so that we can start thinking differently about a better way to diminish the corrupting power of powerful interests.

    I think the easiest way to demonstrate this to you is simply ask you to state in 100 words of less a definition of a conflict of interest that doesn't run afoul of the First Amendment right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances. , or Oregon's even stronger free speech protections. Why do you think M46 was a constitutional amendment?

    The best attempts at doing this come down to a demonstrateable quid pro quo between votes and favors. Ignoring as you have, and as already stated, that most politicians vote the way they do because to some degree they share the values of the power interests they are supporting, which makes a quid pro quo even harder to demonstrate from the get-go, it's fairly obvious to any elected official with a normal IQ and reasonably non-sociopathic morals how to break the direct links between votes and favors. For the rest with more flexible morals, the risk of a felony makes the price of a vote several thousand times the amount of any legal campaign contribution, rendering any constitutional CFR all but irrelevant.

    Reverse the judicial fiat that corporations are people with First Amendment rights and much more along the lines you opine about is possible.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete, personally I think you make a much harder and honest attempt to add substantively to the arguments here. In that way you are one of the more critical thinkers here (LT also consistently does an impressive job in my personal opinion). That's why your posts demand and deserve substantive responses. I personally don't any lack of cognitive ability on your part in your posts.

    In part for that reason, I readily admit that I am the one who has the lack of understanding how to respond in this case: Re: Voter-Owned Elections: um, what? If you insist on drawing out this debate, can you skip the shorthand, and spell out your argument? I am totally lost. My failed best attempt at doing that directly was to cut to the chase about what VOE's have as their terminal goal --- levelling the playing field --- and setting ethics reform, restoring the public communications, and denying corporations personhood into that context as more direct approaches to accomplishing that goal.

    Now, if the issue is whether the amount of direct campaign contributions a person can make can be legislatively limited, and VOEs are offered as a way to mitigate the anti-democratic effects of imposing such limits, then I think you and I agree. Direct contributions can be legislatively limited and VOEs are a way to mitgate the negative effects of doing that. The problem is that the truly valuable contributions supporters make to candidates are in the form of social networking and indirect expressions of support, including expenditures to publicly express that support, such as that prohibited by McCain-Feingold. What the courts struck down rather fully were attempts to place limits on that indirect support. So you can have VOEs and no matter what the legislation enacting VOE says, powerful interests would still have the right to independently spend as much money as they want in favor of candidates who will act to support their values.

    Maybe I can further clarify with two final comments: I am all for VOE and argue in support of PDX's VOE against critics whenever the occasion arises. As Kari pointed out in another context, good sense demands we should never let the desire for the perfect stand in the way of accomplishing the good. What I oppose are arguments advanced by some VOE supporters in PDX that they have found the best or even a good solution. I personally believe what VOE proponents actually have done is to settle for a fairly poor compromise that betrays a certain lack of interest in fighting hard for meaningful ethics reform, restoring the public communications commons, and reversing the acceptance of corporate personhood, along with all the other fundamental consequences that flow from accepting those anti-democratic conditions.

    That's my entire take about VOE. I hope this explanation clarifies it.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
    (Show?)

    The point of that statement is that campaign contributions are not of enough value to move a politician to do anything, despite what you might believe.

    And what both the contributors and the politicians believe? The reality is that professional contributors give money to candidates based on whether their investment will pay off. Despite what you might think, it doesn't take that much value to move a successful politician.

    There doesn't have to be much case law.

    There does to support your argument. Otherwise its just baseless speculation that its possible that some court in the future might overturn a law prohibiting conflicts of interest.

    state in 100 words of less a definition of a conflict of interest that doesn't run afoul of the First Amendment right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Taking a bribe.

    The point is there is no limit on the right of anyone to contribute to a candidate or petition their government. The prohibition is on the activities of elected officials.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Kari wrote:

    "Finally, Tom wrote Fair elections supporters requested, supported, and cajoled legislators to pick up the ball on campaign finance reform. They refused.

    You were under the impression that Karen Minnis and Wayne Scott might pass campaign finance reform?"

    Kari, of course not. That's why LT's complaint that the legislative process was circumvented is bogus. It was a choice between legislation by initiative or no legislation.

  • (Show?)

    politicallogic:

    Thanks for clarifying your views on VOE.

    I don't know exactly what to make of your answer, due to a fundamental confusion I have about the use of the term "political compromise."

    For something to be a compromise, it has to involve concessions on both sides.

    In this case, what exactly have supporters of VOE conceded? I would think they retain every right, both as individuals and as organizations, to advocate for other, further-reaching methods of addressing fairness in electoral policy. MiPRAP's recent action regarding Portland TV stations illustrates that - if they had made a compromise with someone to make VOE law, wouldn't they be prohibited from taking further action?

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Tom, I think you misquote me.

    Perhaps there is a difference of philosophy.

    I volunteered on a number of legislative campaigns in various capacities this year. I believe in representative government rather than the "always trust measure sponsors" form of direct democracy. I just don't buy into the idea that the minute they are sworn in all legislators should be assumed to be enemies of campaign finance reform and therefore we should always trust ballot measure sponsors over elected officials.

    But let's have a vigorous debate, with everyone here or otherwise involved in the issue talking to each other and legislators and not just blogging. If you believe that nothing other than a superduper majority to prevent the legislature from ever changing a measure is the only way to go, that is your right. But I don't agree. I think measures have language which means one thing to some people and another thing to others and in the past such language has proven to have unintended consequences. And the idea that no legislature can ever discuss those consequences bothers me.

    Tom, what did you think of Measure 9 campaign finance reform?

    And do you know for a fact that all 90 legislators gathering in the state capitol next week would kill any campaign finance reform you support? On what evidence?

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Ross, you're playing sophmoric word games at this point. What your reason is for doing that only you can tell us. Nonetheless, let's go through your response one point at a time:

    Despite what you might think, it doesn't take that much value to move a successful politician.

    My first inclination is to ask if there are any respected and successful politicians reading who want to respond to what certainly comes across as a rather ignorant and juvenile insult to you, given as it is in the middle of a rather serious discussion of the issue?

    My second response is to say that your superior memory and knowledge, Ross, must allow you to bring to mind some examples. Because I surely can't recall any Federal legislator or a "successful" NW politician of stature --- meaning someone who has the power to sway votes other than his or her own on a matter that delivers significant value to a private interest --- who has voted contrary to his or her own political values primarily in return for average campaign contributions on the order of a couple of thousand dollars. When you get into campaign contributions that are tens of thousands of dollars or more such as is possible in Oregon, that is another matter entirely, but I never claimed that.

    Frankly, your comment comes across more as that kind of empty cynicism that really makes it easy to dismiss many NWers and Oregonians as not really having that much depth when it comes to politics.

    There doesn't have to be much case law. Only the few cases, as Feingold found out, where the courts simply strike down such attempts wholesale because of huge constitutional obstacles that only some initiative sponsors, and a few of the dimmer bulbs we send to represent us, just can't seem to get through their thick heads.

    There does to support your argument. Otherwise its just baseless speculation that its possible that some court in the future might overturn a law prohibiting conflicts of interest.

    First, selective quotation that changes the meaning of a statement is intellectually dishonest if one does it intentionally. You'll have to tell us whether it was intentional or because you just don't know any better. The bolded text completely changes the meaning of my comment from what you impute in your response. I think you amply prove my point either about playing word games, or about thick heads, and possibly both.

    Second, are you too dense to grasp that I never made a universal assertion that courts would overturn any law prohibiting conflicts of interest, only that the kind of simplistic ideas you and others offer here have already been dispensed with by the Federal and Oregon courts when they have been asked? Or are you again just playing word games? Once again I'll note: Why do you think M46 was a constitutional amendment?

    state in 100 words of less a definition of a conflict of interest that doesn't run afoul of the First Amendment right of the people to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

    Taking a bribe.

    First, "conflict of interest" and "bribery" are two separate legal concepts. My point addressed your initial focus on "conflict of interest" and you still haven't provided a credible, enforceable definition of that here.

    Second, your smart-aleck, tangential answer leads one to wonder fairly if you are too dumb to understand that my comment:

    The best attempts at doing this come down to a demonstrateable quid pro quo between votes and favors.

    is in fact an informal statement of a enforceable definition of "taking a bribe".

    The point is there is no limit on the right of anyone to contribute to a candidate or petition their government. The prohibition is on the activities of elected officials.

    First, what do you think the founders intended by the right of the people to petition their government for a redress of grievances? Just that the people have a right to spout to their elected officials, but that elected officials who agree with them have no right to take action favorable to petitioning citizens? Or that whatever a bunch of lame-thinking NW lefty activists don't like that certain interests want can be legislated against "just because", and despite any constitutional safeguards to the contrary?

    Second, your point is so superficial as to be trivial. Just because you state you are talking about prohibitions on the activities of elected officials you aren't really bringing anything to the table except hot air unless you can discuss specific prohibitions that are constitutional and enforceable. And if your flippant remark throwing out another generality "taking a bribe" which isn't even on point is representative, you certainly aren't more talented than Feingold when it comes to doing that.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think a really important question that says a lot about the so-called progressive NW/Oregon community is why anyone should have to be defending against determined attempts to gut civil rights protections in our Oregon constitution on a blog like Blue Oregon that claims to be a place for progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip.?

    What have I missed in the definition of "progressive" that I believe we should be seeing such arguments on Red Oregon with progressives taking the role of defending the constitution and the ACLU's position on these matters?

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For those who heard Dan Meeks on Hartmann's show (~8:50AM, 02-Jan-2007), it's important to note he demonstrated that at least on that show, he is either a liar, ignorant, or deceptive.

    Meeks noted that the Oregon Constitution contains exactly the same free expression clause as the Indiana Constitution. He went on to imply the Oregon Supreme Court somehow doesn't understand something, because Indiana has some of the strongest campaign contribution limits in the nation.

    If you go to the Indiana Election Division webpage here:

    http://www.indianacampaignfinance.com/INPublic/inAboutReporting.aspx

    in part you will find this:

    Are there any limits for state candidates?

    1) Corporations or labor organizations are limited as follows: (A series of dollar limits on corporate contributions)

    2) Individuals In general, Indiana law does not limit individual contributions. See the Campaign Finance Manual for restrictions that apply to state employees, foreign nationals, and others.

    3) PACs In general, Indiana law does not limit PAC contributions.

    Note that Indiana draws a distinction between individuals and corporations precisely, as I have argued here, is where the line can and should be drawn. If Meeks and his crew actually want to accomplish something, rather than just trying to have their place in the limelight by pursuing a fool's errand to it's ludicrous end, they should propose an amendment to the Oregon Constitution which explicitly says that neither corporations nor entities set up to shield flesh and blood people from liability (LLCs) are people, and therefore their political activity can be extensively regulated. If passed, that would set up the proper challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter, because such challenges can only be heard there. We can debate whether or how PACs should be regulated separately.

    Meeks also seems to to not grasp the distinction between reporting requirements a state can impose, and compelling speech in an ad. Hartmann tried to communicate there is a problem if most of an ad would be taken up with disclosure, but he failed to note that it would be the extensiveness of the disclosure that would be the probable reason this would cross the line between disclosure and compelled speech.

    Of course Hartmann, who seemingly uses his glibness to either hide the fact he is not the brightest bulb on the tree, or foremost is not interested in doing anything that might upset his popularity with his not-too-bright audience, did not bring the truth about Indiana to the fore either. The only reason I immediately knew Meeks was either lying, ignorant, or being deceptive was that I vaguely recall Indiana being discussed during the election season in the popular press and knew to look it up. (His rather clueless sidekick Heidi could have Google the "Indiana campaign contribution limits" and it would have come up as the first hit while Meeks was saying this too.) I also seldom look to Indiana as the source of anything progressive or particularly wise. After all, this is the state that just put control of major highways in the hands of private corporations and that sends dutiful DLC groveller Evan Bayh to D.C.

    (But then, in talking to a previous caller, Hartmann went off on an intellectual dishonest rant himself where he tried to trip up a caller by drawing a misleading analogy between running a red light and opposing the draft. Even though the caller did a could job of showing Hartmann for the pompous fool he frequently is, I wish that caller would have had the presence of mind to play the same kind of game since that is what works with the credulous PDX audience, of asking him: How many churches oppose red lights and actively encourage people to oppose them on moral principle, and how many oppose war - and particularly wars of aggression - and actively encourage their faithful to oppose war and the draft on moral grounds? Drawing misleading or irrelevant analogies to avoid the substance, or to simply hold the offense in an argument, is disreputable at best.)

  • (Show?)

    From reading through the comments by political logic (whatever the hell that means) to this point, I've been able to draw a couple of pretty obvious conclusions:

    Everyone that thinks differently from him, her, it is either incredibly stupid or aggressively dishonest, or both.

    Defying all logic, political logic concludes that four and five figure donations are trivial amounts, and that the only possible negative impact that these donations might have would be outright corruption.

    No nod to the very real fact that even ethical and honorable politicians under the current system, are loathe to criticize or oppose the positions of their major donors. I've personally witnessed this behavior numerous times and will witness it again at least three times this week as I attend three different victory parties.

    Anyone who has not witnessed this behavior needs to get out more......

    Fortunately, political logic itself has signed on to one of the two central problems requiring a solution when it writes:

    propose an amendment to the Oregon Constitution which explicitly says that neither corporations nor entities set up to shield flesh and blood people from liability (LLCs) are people, and therefore their political activity can be extensively regulated.

    So corporations are not persons by any empirical measure, and money is not speech.

    Looks like two constitutional amendments could go a long way toward returning us to.......well.....sanity.

  • VR (unverified)
    (Show?)

    What I want to know is: does anyone have any opinions on this matter?

    :)

    Basically, I believe what has been said in this long discussion is this:

    We need organizations and individuals to do more than spport or oppose CFR - but to also help design CFR.

    Possibly a good cause to start an organization all itself for the simple purpose of designing CFR - but not to politically support anything... Maybe a non-partison type think-tank at a grass roots level. No big money behind it. Maybe just a group of people over a pint at a pub.. Revolutions have been planned with just this sort of organization. :)

  • LT (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Add this " very real fact that even ethical and honorable politicians under the current system, are loathe to criticize or oppose the positions of their major donors. " to what VR said, and maybe we have a solution.

    Yes, that very real fact is a problem, but why was 46 the only acceptable solution?

    What is NOT a solution is arguing over the definition of progressive or saying anyone who didn't vote for 46 & 47 doesn't really care about big money in politics.

    And I don't see how CFR passes by claiming anyone who opposed the superduper majority in 46 because they thought the legislature shouldn't be hamstrung like that is anti-CFR simply because they think there can be legislators as intelligent/ honest as ballot measure sponsors if not more so.

    And please, regardless of his involvement, let's not get into anything like "to support CFR means to always agree with Dan Meek".

    I support ballot measures based on what they say, and whether they potentially have unintended consequences.

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I think we need something like 46 at some point so we can arrive at a system of reasonable contribution limits. That being said, 47 was a turkey. Under 47 the most I could have spent on MY OWN campaign would be $250.00.

    I guess the authors of 47 were worried that a candidate might buy his own vote.

  • (Show?)

    LT,

    I'm hoping you'll respond directly to Ernie Delmazzo's comment (far above.) He contended that in Ohio and Massachusetts, state legislators explicitly defied the voters' attempts to regulate the financing of their campaigns.

    I understand that you have a lot of faith in the integrity of our current legislators, and I respect that. But it is not really germane to this discussion. Legislators come and go, and interpretations of what is meant by "integrity" vary with the cycles of the moon.

    If we as citizens adopt something like Measure 47 - and for the sake of argument, let's suppose it had passed by overwhelming majority - why should we not seek to protect it from tampering by legislators - the very class of people Measure 47 is looking to regulate? That's what Measure 46 aimed to do.

    Many have been outraged by the Bush administration's appointment of industry insiders to positions where they "regulate" their own industries. Why wouldn't the same principle apply here? If we're going to regulate the ability of legislators to gather funds, why leave the door open for them to amend the regulations?

    Please note, I'm not saying 46 or 47 are the way to go - just questioning the sense of supporting 47 while opposing 46.

  • (Show?)

    Dave, yOu could have spent $15,000 on your own campaign of your own money, in addition to all amounts contributed by others, under Measure 47.

    For for "politicallogic," who has so little confidence in his or her statements that he or she remains anonymous, I did not say that Indiana had strict limits on individual contributions. I said that Indiana had strict limits, and that is 100% true. You are wrong that its limits apply only to corporations; they apply equally to labor unions. Here they are below, verbatim (not some vague summary). Note that Indiana limits both any corporation and any labor organization to a grand total of $5,000 per year for all candidates for state offices, etc. These are quite low limits.

    I said at least 50 things on the Hartmann show today. Can't politicalllogic find more things wrong? How about the fact that 28 states have "free speech" language in their constitutions that is identical to Oregon's (or one word different, "publish" instead of "print"), yet 27 of them have numeric limits or prohibitions on political campaign contributions?

    Answering anonymous rants is not very productive use of time, and I doubt I will do it in the future.

    Here is the Indiana law re corporate and union contributions:

    Sec. 4. During a year a corporation or labor organization may not make total contributions in excess of:

    (1) an aggregate of five thousand dollars ($5,000) apportioned in any manner among all candidates for state offices (including a judge of the court of appeals whose retention in office is voted on by a district that does not include all of Indiana);

    (2) an aggregate of five thousand dollars ($5,000) apportioned in any manner among all state committees of political parties;

    (3) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among all candidates for the senate of the general assembly;

    (4) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among all candidates for the house of representatives of the general assembly;

    (5) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among regular party committees organized by a legislative caucus of the senate of the general assembly;

    (6) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among regular party committees organized by a legislative caucus of the house of representatives of the general assembly;

    (7) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among all candidates for school board offices and local offices; and

    (8) an aggregate of two thousand dollars ($2,000) apportioned in any manner among all central committees other than state committees.

  • (Show?)

    Also, Dave Lister, you could have spent $15,000 of your own money on your own campaign in the primary and $15,000 again in the general election. See Measure 47, section (4)(a)(2) and (4)(a)(3). I have no idea how you arrived at the figure of $250.

    Why limit this? Because allowing unlimited use of personal wealth is a way for corporations to evade limits on corporate contributions. Consider the example of Pete Ricketts, who was recently chief operating officer of Ameritrade. He got huge bonuses, retired, and started running for the U.S. Senate from Nebraska. He contributed $11.3 million of his "own money" to his campaign. Large corporations can create mega-millionaires overnight, who can then retire and run for office with the "own money." Should we expect them to be independent from the agendas of the big corporations?

  • Dave Lister (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Dan, Thanks for the clarification... my memory of the measure was faulty.

  • (Show?)

    Possibly a good cause to start an organization all itself for the simple purpose of designing CFR - but not to politically support anything... Maybe a non-partison type think-tank at a grass roots level. No big money behind it. Maybe just a group of people over a pint at a pub.. Revolutions have been planned with just this sort of organization. :)

    Yup. It's right here. Oregon Money in Politics Research Action Project.

  • (Show?)

    Dan,

    The Ricketts case and your analysis is informative. That sounds like a significant problem, and one in need of some kind of attention.

    What gives me pause on that issue is the thought that someone like Ned Lamont would not have been able to mount a significant challenge to Lieberman but for his personal fortune, or Ross Perot for that matter.

    Regarding personal candidate contributions, you seem to focus on the wrong piece - rather than finding a way to restrict corporations from "quid pro quo" donations to individuals like you describe, you want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, and say NOBODY can contribute above a certain amount to their own campaign, regardless of how they came by that money.

    To me that sounds both unconstitutional, and undesirable in a practical sense.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Hey Dan Meeks, your attempt to impugn my comment through equivocation:

    I did not say that Indiana had strict limits on individual contributions. I said that Indiana had strict limits, and that is 100% true.

    is pretty shabby. You would have done yourself a little more credit, counselor, if you had had the decency to quote my actual comment: He went on to imply the Oregon Supreme Court somehow doesn't understand something, because Indiana has some of the strongest campaign contribution limits in the nation. It is a totally accurate summary of your on-the-air statement as you in fact confirm here. I also happen to believe the fact you made this comment to impugn the intelligence and precedents of the Oregon Supreme of our Supreme Court places an obligation on you to rise to certain intellectual standards rather than engage in word-gaming if you want to convince anyone you have the integrity required to lead people to tamper with our Constitution. Don't you? I think you are a little dishonest in your usage of "strict" here if we just compare Indiana's limits to the limits for Federal campaigns.

    I'll also note that the text I quoted:

    1) Corporations or labor organizations are limited as follows: (A series of dollar limits on corporate contributions)

    contrary to the implication you try to make with your snide little comment: You are wrong that its limits apply only to corporations; they apply equally to labor unions. I also gave the URL where one could find the rest of the text quoted. Note the omissions I made for brevity also did not change the meaning of the quoted material, a concept of intellectual integrity you apparently either don't understand or hold to, only you can tell us which it is.

    From this exchange there is at least reason to believe you have become a goofball or a demagogue, and perhaps both. I assert you certainly have not demonstrated anything near the integrity or critical thinking skills required by someone I would trust to suggest that we curtail our free speech rights under the Oregon Constitution. I'll remind you that the text of M46 didn't make any distinction between corporations and flesh and blood people:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the people through the initiative process, or the Legislative Assembly by a three-fourths vote of both Houses, may enact and amend laws to prohibit or limit contributions and expenditures, of any type or description, to influence the outcome of any election.

    (You also made some remark about how a misplaced comma confused people and contributed to the loss. Looking at this simple text, I fail to see whatever it was you were babbling about on that score.)

    As I said in my original criticism of your tawdry performance: If Meeks and his crew actually want to accomplish something, rather than just trying to have their place in the limelight by pursuing a fool's errand to it's ludicrous end, they should propose an amendment to the Oregon Constitution which explicitly says that neither corporations nor entities set up to shield flesh and blood people from liability (LLCs) are people, and therefore their political activity can be extensively regulated.

    Your signoff is a little childish also. Surely a good lawyer like you is well aware that anonymous political debate has a long and hallowed history, starting at least as early as the Federalist Papers, that has been repeatedly re-affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court as being good for the republic. You don't want to use your real name so you can say what you think really needs to be said? Set your ego aside, and give it your best shot by posting anonymously.

  • Liz Trojan (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I was active on measures 46 and 47. I've also been a donor to many of the groups that opposed measures 46 and 47. In the future, I plan to following Dr Goldman's example. I will be donating money to the groups that supported measures 46 and 47.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    LT,

    You wrote:

    "It may well be that we need a constitutional amendment, but I refuse to believe that ballot measure sponsors writing the language are better than public hearings about the language of a constitutional amendment. Legislators are elected and I am tired of hearing that the wisdom of people who write ballot measures is always to be assumed to be greater than the wisdom of elected officials debating measure language publicly."

    This would suggest you think the Legislature should have written a constitutional amendment to allow contribution limits, instead of Fair Elections Oregon doing it. I really don't see what's to argue here. The legislature could have but did not do the job. Fair Elections Oregon did what the legislature failed to do. Now we have a Democratic majority in both houses along with a Democratic governor. The ball is in their court. The Republicans cannot stop them from referring such an amendment. I hope they will do it, after the public hearings you would like to see. You seem to believe that Fair Elections Oregon supporters don't like any reform we don't write ourselves. This is untrue. What is true is that only Fair Elections Oregon has brought CFR to a vote in recent years.

    You may have objected the the M46 super majority requirement, but the organizations that spent big bucks to defeat Fair Elections mentioned that very little. They had other objections, and the truth is that any reform plan will draw objections from someone. Does this mean that no detailed, ready to be voted on, CFR plan can be worthwhile? M46 and M47 were real opportunities. what the legislature or progressive non-profits might do on CFR is conjectural and may take years to actualize, if ever. I believe man opponents of Fair Elections rejected the good because they saw it as imperfect. That is not the behavior of seasoned, practical, and honest political activists.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    For someone who denigrates several clearly intelligent and informed political activists, politicallogic certainly uses a lot of words to say very little that is clear and meaningful.

    The retort to just about all of his/her points can be found in the lengthy discussions of Fair Elections that preceded the November vote, discussions the he/she characteristically accuses others of ignoring. Good grief!

    If I were he/she, I would remain anonymous as well. No sense taking credit for such drivel.

  • (Show?)

    re: politicallogic

    Sounds like we're all pretty much agreed that his/her posts usually aren't worth much attention - but we're still discussing it? Big deal. Let's move on.

    Tom:

    Your claim that Measures 46 and 47 were rejected because the detractors saw them as merely "good" but not "perfect" is not something I recall ever hearing from them. Some have said it's "well-intentioned," but will have "unintended consequences" - which may sound similar, but in reality it isn't the same thing, not by a long shot.

    (The only person, ironically enough, that's said anything that would indicate a "perfect is the enemy of the good" attitude is politicallogic, who claimed that support of VOE was a compromise that betrayed a lack of guts, or something like that. I think I addressed that well enough above.)

    There are two main objections that have resonance for me:

    (1) M46 and M47 would negatively impact free speech protections, and might negatively impact the operations of grass roots organizations like the Bus Project. Those are things that I, and I think most progressives, would not take lightly. They constitute far more than a difference between "good" and "perfect."

    (2) Measure 47 is just too damn complex. I understand that the Oregonian may have overstated its complexity, but even still. Given the amount of attention I've given to this thing, I feel like I should have a good understanding of how it works - and I don't. The problem with complexity is that it leaves way too many nooks and crannies for either unintended consequences or corruption. After lots of study, I want to be sure that my vote won't result in loopholes like that. Ultimately that's why I didn't vote for them. That's not the "perfect being the enemy of the good," it's responsible voting.

    I will say this, however: try though they might, the detractors never managed to convince me that any of your motives were suspect, or that your finance reporting was shady, or anything like that. As grim as it looks, I hope that somehow the minds and hearts that were behind 46 and 47 will continue to fight, will be open to changes in strategy, and will find common cause with the rest of the forces resisting systematized corruption and conflicts of interest. We need to find an idea to rally around; yours wasn't it, so let's find another.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    I also want to address Pat Ryan's remarks, starting with:

    Everyone that thinks differently from him, her, it is either incredibly stupid or aggressively dishonest, or both.

    I defy you or anyone to provide faithful quotations from one comment where I have criticized anyone because they think differently. What I have done is to faithfully cite arguments people have made, and then tore them apart as either being logically flawed, misstatements of fact, or simply outright irrational. In a forum where people who tend to hyperventilate about how arguments should stand on their merit, I frankly find it quite amusing how angry some of you get when it is shown that far too many of your own arguments can't stand on their own merit, and what the specific reasons for that are.

    Since we are talking about curtailing fundamental constitutional rights here, I'll certainly continue to do that without apology.

    I also think Pat demonstrates the problem nicely with his counterfactual assertion that:

    Defying all logic, political logic concludes that four and five figure donations are trivial amounts, and that the only possible negative impact that these donations might have would be outright corruption.

    How you could reach that conclusion, in view of my explicit comment that:

    My second response is to say that your superior memory and knowledge, Ross, must allow you to bring to mind some examples. Because I surely can't recall any Federal legislator or a "successful" NW politician of stature --- meaning someone who has the power to sway votes other than his or her own on a matter that delivers significant value to a private interest --- who has voted contrary to his or her own political values primarily in return for average campaign contributions on the order of a couple of thousand dollars. When you get into campaign contributions that are tens of thousands of dollars or more such as is possible in Oregon, that is another matter entirely, but I never claimed that.

    following on the heels of my previous comments:

    All in all, does it even enter your thinking ... that maybe the behavior you don't agree with has nothing to do with the promise of relatively paltry campaign contributions, but rather the values and character of our elected officials themselves?

    and my comment, in the general context of campaign financing where "legal" contributions typically are on the order of low thousands of dollars, not tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, that:

    For the rest with more flexible morals, the risk of a felony makes the price of a vote several thousand times the amount of any legal campaign contribution, rendering any constitutional CFR all but irrelevant.

    To reiterate, as I said in the comment you apparently failed to appreciate, I never argued that (high) four and five figure donations are trivial amounts but that When you get into campaign contributions that are tens of thousands of dollars or more such as is possible in Oregon, that is another matter entirely, but I never argued that. Meaning that legislators may indeed consider how to cast their vote in response to a contribution of tens or hundreds of dollars because that is a lot of money to most folks. On the other hand, I do believe that in this consumer economy where the stats show a large percentage of folks think nothing of taking out second mortgages on over-priced houses to drop on tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on consumer goods, I don't think voluntary contributions on the order of $2000 (low four figures) is a huge amount when it comes to supporting good candidates --- even if that amount is beyond what I personally can afford to donate. I defy you or anyone to demonstrate that virtually any "successful" representatives (as someone else asserted) will sell out and vote in a way that is genuinely in conflict with their values for such a relatively paltry sum.

    Similarly, your second claim that I "conclude" that the only possible negative impact that these donations might have would be outright corruption similarly is a statement that you can't support with any citations to anything I've said because you're claiming I drew a conclusion I haven't drawn. People keep making similar ominous allusions as portentious defenses of CFR, but when held up to scrutiny there is nothing behind them. Far from drawing any conclusion that there aren't negative impacts, I can't even tell what anyone asserting similar things precisely believes those impacts are. I am rapidly drawing the conclusion this is just a short hand way of referring to whatever it is they personally don't like that an elected officials does. Kind of hard to draw up a credible constitutional amendment based on such irrationality, don't you think?

    You seem to argue that in your mind, these vague negative impacts include

    the very real fact that even ethical and honorable politicians under the current system, are loathe to criticize or oppose the positions of their major donors. I've personally witnessed this behavior numerous times and will witness it again at least three times this week as I attend three different victory parties.

    I don't know the kind of spineless subspecies of elected leaders you hang out with, but in the past the elected leaders whose campaigns and victory parties I attended generally didn't criticize or oppose the positions of their major donors because the positions of those major donors weren't strongly at odds with their own personal values. Oh, they occasionally give lip service to their discomfort with certain positions for the benefit of that goofy contingent of credulous supporters that your own comment suggests may include you, but that's quite a different matter entirely. I am really starting to wonder if it is a lot of the folks who hang out here who have the distorted view of reality.

    The alternative, of course, is that you are providing real evidence of exactly why the inherently pandering nature of NW/Oregon-style populism is the real problem, with all that says about US since we embrace the system that creates such worms and elect them. Care to provide some elaboration about what you might just be alleging for effect here?

    (Any of you elected officials reading this who will be in attendance at the parties Pat will attend care to comment either on Pat's slam on you here, or, if he's right, defend why you are such venal cowards?)

    So frankly, Pat, I think your deductive skills purporting to prove what I believe leave a little bit to be desired. That's a polite way of saying, in this case, I do think you're kind of stupid:

    stupid: adj Lacking keenness of mind.

    I'm actually quite curious though about one thing, though, given the laughable outrage of many folks here when someone has the temerity to actually challenge them instead of telling them their views are veritable pearls of wisdom: Do you think it is just the no-false-niceness of an accurate statement of the situation such as - "at least in this case, you're kind of stupid" that bothers them, or is it the refutation of assertions using accurate quotes of statements made previously such as done here, that actually bothers most of them? How about you?

    I'll reiterate, we're talking about defending the state constitution here, the very basis of the rule of law on which representative democracy in our state rests. In that circumstance I contend that we need to be a little less concerned about being polite to those who aggressively put themselves forward as people who claim to be "progressives", with opinions that deserve to be heard simply because they offer them, but who are adamant in their desire to gut our constitution based on their personal belief in what would be good for us all, and that we need to be a whole lot more concerned about the fact that all too often they defend their claim with arguments that don't stand up to the even the simplest critical analyses.

    On the other hand, I obviously think Pat is pretty bright that he argues in his own right that we need to get the focus on reversing the current situation that corporations and entities set up to shield flesh-and-blood people from liability are persons if we really want to shift the balance of power in our representative democracy. Tip of the hat to him for that.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    In a fit of childish pique, Tom Civiletti states another absurdity which just doesn't quite pass the reality test:

    The retort to just about all of his/her points can be found in the lengthy discussions of Fair Elections that preceded the November vote, discussions the he/she characteristically accuses others of ignoring. Good grief!

    The most important thing about your claim for those brilliant retorts Tom you allude to without specific reference, is that somehow they were unconvincing to a majority of voters who voted on M46.

    Kind of hard to get around that fact, isn't it, since you and many of the folks here have the job of trying to prove the contrary to enough folks to make up a voting majority to amend our constitution?

    Reality is such a bitch, isn't it?

    Pete, I was going to let your final comment about VOE go. What you actually said is:

    In this case, what exactly have supporters of VOE conceded? I would think they retain every right, both as individuals and as organizations, to advocate for other, further-reaching methods of addressing fairness in electoral policy. MiPRAP's recent action regarding Portland TV stations illustrates that - if they had made a compromise with someone to make VOE law, wouldn't they be prohibited from taking further action?

    However, you need to be fair about what I actually said:

    I am all for VOE and argue in support of PDX's VOE against critics whenever the occasion arises. ... What I oppose are arguments advanced by some VOE supporters in PDX that they have found the best or even a good solution. I personally believe what VOE proponents actually have done is to settle for a fairly poor compromise that betrays a certain lack of interest in fighting hard for meaningful ethics reform, restoring the public communications commons, and reversing the acceptance of corporate personhood, along with all the other fundamental consequences that flow from accepting those anti-democratic conditions.

    In short, what that means is that VOE supporters I hear about in the media and that I talk to are generally spending their energy continuing to evangelize for VOE as the most important thing we can do to reform elections rather than fighting for more fundamental reforms I note.

    What you are trying to say with some fuzzy argument about how they retain every right, both as individuals and as organizations, to advocate for other, further-reaching methods of addressing fairness in electoral policy., a proposition I never addressed, much less disputed, and how that is an on-point response to what I said is beyond me.

  • (Show?)

    politicallogic:

    For someone who defends his/her posting style as follows:

    Set your ego aside, and give it your best shot by posting anonymously.

    ...you sure have put a lot of energy into defending yourself.

    Considering that I may be the only person in this thread that you've complimented, maybe it these words will actually mean something coming from me:

    I don't give a damn what you think of me, or of anyone else. Precisely because I don't know who you are. Come to think of it, I'm not that interested in what you think of Voter Owned Elections either.

    The problem is not your anonymity, it's the cowardice you display by combining anonymity and personal attacks - in nearly every post you make. Simply put, while there likely IS a noble tradition of anonymous publishing, you're most certainly not part of it.

    You do often offer insightful points, but I rarely wade through the garbage to find them. My secret wish is that you'll choose a new handle, and take a different approach, so that we can gain the benefit of your insight without needing to skim through pointless rants.

  • poltiicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Finally, I want to address Meek's presentation of the Rickett's case because I think this shows exactly why Meek, and those of you who agree with him, in your arrogance are quickly alienating the majority of the electorate that would be required to actually pass meaningful reform.

    Also, Dave Lister, you could have spent $15,000 of your own money on your own campaign in the primary and $15,000 again in the general election. See Measure 47, section (4)(a)(2) and (4)(a)(3). I have no idea how you arrived at the figure of $250.

    Why limit this? Because allowing unlimited use of personal wealth is a way for corporations to evade limits on corporate contributions.

    First, let's note the simple reality that the under the current U.S. Constitution there is no way to ever place a limit on how much personal wealth a citizen can spend for their own political campaign if they are willing to forego other sources of support which can be regulated. Furthermore claim that unlimited use of personal wealth is a is a way for corporations to evade limits on corporate contributions is simply an sensationalistic distortion of reality that really has to call the credibilty of Meek and his supporters into question. How anyone who supports the First Amendment could support what would be the most fundamentally anti-liberty concept possible of preventing someone from using their own resource to express their own political views is an argument Meek should be called on to make. Furthermore, Meek and his supporters are truly nuts if they believe that that powerful couldn't quickly use the constitutional flexibility required to do this to disempower progressives and anyone else who doesn't share their political values.

    Consider the example of Pete Ricketts, who was recently chief operating officer of Ameritrade. He got huge bonuses, retired, and started running for the U.S. Senate from Nebraska. He contributed $11.3 million of his "own money" to his campaign. Large corporations can create mega-millionaires overnight, who can then retire and run for office with the "own money." Should we expect them to be independent from the agendas of the big corporations?

    Meek now argues precisely my point that elected officials seemingly vote the way their supporters and their associates want them to because their values generally align with those of their supporters and associates.

    I'm in no way supportive of our current system which gives the wealthy a leg up in running for political office. But what Meek is really arguing for here in fact amounts to an attempt to constitutionally proscribe the political values of those who are eligible to hold office and that is repugnant to any freedom-loving citizen. Note that if enough Ricketts got elected to office they could legislate whatever campaign finance regulations they wanted. Therefore, the question is how Meek really thinks that he could prevent the election of enough Ricketts to stop enactment of laws favorable to them? Does he really believe people who have been relatively successful at getting ahead in business would be disproportionately unsuccessful at getting elected? There doesn't seem to be much evidence supporting that and I personally think his rationality should be questioned if he does.

    On the other hand he may believe his system would structurally disadvantage those folks: I think it fair to say that the courts, libertarian-leaning folks, and frankly honest progressives would have serious problems with constitutional conditions flexible enough that they could disadvantage any particular group of people for reasons that are purely political.

    Meek's statement here provides a disturbing and cautionary view of the motives of some CFR supporters. Clearly he is not content with the idea of preventing corporations and other entities that aren't flesh-and-blood people from having political rights. He wants to explicitly regulate how flesh-and-blood people can express their political views. That view is a slide into repression that all Oregonians, and certainly progressive Oregonians, ought to be repulsed by.

    One other thing, the Pete Forsyth incorrectly characterizes the Rickett's situation as a "quid pro quo". It is nothing of the sort. The money paid to Ricketts was legally obligated to him before he had any political involvement. I don't think he deserved the amount of money he made, but the fact is it his money, and there is no "quid pro quo" or even something that can lazily be interpreted as that. There is a sharing of political values and that cannot be prohibited in anything that even resembles a representative democracy.

    As I noted earlier, the democratic alternative that Forsyth agrees we need is to reduce the marginal political value of wealth by restoring the public communications commons because that is where a lot of campaign money is spent. Do that and folks might be suprised just how much the political landscape shifts.

    We also saw in the 2006 election that the other major area in which cmpaign money has been spent over the last 20 years, the much vaunted Republican direct contact/micro-targeting operation which in part operates outside the communications commons, broke down in the face of real political events and became spectacularly unproductive. So that is not in and of itself a threat that is insurmountable. The fact that Democrats haven't enagaged in some productive level of similar operations for much of that period was a terribly misguided decision that is quickly being reversed. Because of the growth of 1-1 communications channels and data collection methods (not that I am overly supportive of the level of data collection about us going on by political and commercial interests) direct contact/micro-targeting may start to work to the Democrats advantage. It would be supremely stupid to cut off that growing advantage with CFR measures as poorly thought out as those we have seen supported in this thread.

  • politicallogic (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete, your comment that

    The problem is not your anonymity, it's the cowardice you display by combining anonymity and personal attacks - in nearly every post you make.

    sadly is misguided.

    I must tell you frankly that you don't know that you don't know (that self-reflexive repetition of "you don't know" is correct) what a personal attack in argumentation is. There seems to be a fundamental ignorance in the NW and amongst baby boomer and younger folks about what a personal attack, perhaps because of an overblown ego-centrism. A personal attack is saying somebody's argument is invalid because of who they are. It is not a personal attack to criticize someone on the basis that their argument itself demonstrates a lack of critical thinking ability, or that they make unfounded assertions, that their presentation is intellectually dishonest, or that they are whining. I challenge you to cite anything you claim to be a personal attack that in fact is not an accurate characterization rooted in the arguments made by the person being accurately and fairly criticized.

    I also reject your characterization of what I have posted here as cowardice: As I have said I have always confined my responses to actual comments people made. There is a lot of immaturity on this board where folks just can't accept the fact that they aren't "special" and their arguments aren't meritorious just because they are "special". Observations I have made about the reasoning ability, unfounded assertions, or just plain whining of posters here is quite accurate and well supported by the evidence I cite. There is no cowardice in that. Whether you can grasp that reality is only something you can decide.

    With regard to your claim about the history of anonymous posting. You clearly haven't read the literature from revolutionary days, nor the Supreme Court cases. You couldn't be more wrong if you actually believe that literature is not replete with pointed commentary which both refutes the specific comments of opponents and fairly characterizes the demonstrated limitations of the opponent making the comments being refuted. You need to learn that it is that kind of blind, counterfactual assertion, made too often by folks here for dramatic effect in the absence of any actual knowledge, that so thoroughly discredits them.

    You can chose to wade through comments made here or not. Be careful, though, that you are not saying you don't want to wade through a complicated exposition of a complicated subject on the excuse that part of that exposition quite fairly takes apart another commentator for intellectual dishonesty, unfounded sweeping generalizations made for dramatic effort, or whining. Such a claim will quickly redound to your disadvantage due to the unequal role of the parties in political arguments of the type being joined here.

    As I said to Tom Civiletti, a guy with a chip that definitely exceeds his political knowledge, remember that when it comes to something like CFR, I don't have to convince folks here who are for that kind of anti-democratic change of anything. Those of you who want that change are a minority and you have to convince a majority of the voters who are going to listen to my argument too that you are right. Your arguments and your personal abilities to make them have already been demonstrated to have been lacking once. If your arguments are still so poor you cannot even convince someone with progressive values like me of their merit, much less your ability to skillfully handle the awesome responsibility of actually diminishing our constitutional rights for some supposed greater good, you lose. It's that simple.

    Whether you and the rest of the blowhards here like it or not, the reality is this: Every time a proponent of some supposedly progressive position angrily falls back and falsely accuse critics who make arguments against that position which fairly combine emotion and logic in a forceful appeal to values of making personal attacks, rather than responding with a similarly honest and genuine argument that speaks to values, he or she just loses votes for his or her position. Politics and life are bitches that way.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Pete,

    My point is this: various opponents objected to different aspects of the Fair Elections measures. LT, in particular, did not like the supermajority requirement, while those spending money against the measures hardly mentioned that issue in their paid advertising.

    I think that any comprehensive plan to reform campaign funding will offer many opportunities for objection. Some of those objections will be sincere [I think LT is being sincere], some objections will be red herrings to influence the voters. The sum of all these objections, sincere or not, is to make change quite difficult; and we need change. So, I am suggesting to those who claim to support campaign finance reform that they not be so critical of whatever plan is next advanced that they kill in practice what they support in theory.

  • Tom Civiletti (unverified)
    (Show?)

    Several commentators have claimed to be protecting free speech by opposing Measure 46 or anything similar to it. I believe this is wrongheaded, more so than than would be claiming free speech protection for yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. The real damage to society done by wealthy interests influencing government by their campaign contributions is exponentially greater than all damage that has ever been done by folks seeking to create panic in a public building.

    As Dan Meek has pointed out, the wording of Oregon's free speech protection was lifted verbatim from Indiana's constitution, but Indiana has long allowed limits on political contributions. It is the stance by Oregon's Supreme Court that has negated the right of Oregonians to control political contributions, and it is that stance that Measure 46 addressed. Measure 46 was quite consistent with the spirit of our constitutional free speech protection, in my opinion. Controlling the subversion of democracy caused by money in politics is amply justified by this from Article I, Section 8: "every person shall be responsible for the abuse of this right."

    Of course, the Oregon Supreme Court decision on Measure 9 did not agree with my view, thus the need for Measure 46 -- or something like it, as Representative Buckley wrote.

    The opposition campaigns to Measure 46 tried to paint it as a frontal assault on free speech, and they obviously affected the votes of many Oregonians with their arguments. I believe their rhetoric was overblown and misleading. Measure 46 simply would have allowed Oregonians to demand responsibility from those who contribute to political campaigns, as is consistent with the Oregon Constitution.

  • (Show?)

    Those who are interested should go and check out the new C&E reporting system online at https://secure.sos.state.or.us/eim/jsp/CEMainPage.jsp

    If you click on the search transactions link, you can then do a search by date to show all activity thus far. As of a few moments ago there was already more than $55K in contributions, pledges, etc. on the search-- primarily to legislators and PACs that work to elect legislators. They're now on a two day reporting deadline, so you'll see contributions popping up much faster.

    <h2>Also, one of the first actions of the State Senate was to set up a commission to look at campaign finance reform: http://www.leg.state.or.us/07reg/measures/sb0001.dir/sb0052.intro.html</h2>
guest column

connect with blueoregon