Campaign finance requirements for Oregon ballot measures

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Campaign finance requirements for Oregon ballot measures are promulgated by the Oregon Secretary of State's Election Division. All campaign finance reporting is done online with the ORESTAR portal which records all campaign finance activity for groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure.

If anyone feels that someone violated Oregon Campaign Finance law, the first step is to file a complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State[1]. Once the Secretary of State receives a complaint, then the complaint is referred to the Oregon Attorney General for further prosecution[2].

Campaign finance requirements

Assigning a Treasurer

A chief petitioner must designate a treasurer on the Statement of Organization. The treasurer must be a registered voter in Oregon. Only a designated treasurer or chief petitioner may sign and file the Statement of Organization[3].

The treasurer is legally responsible for all of the following:

  • filing and amending Statements of Organization
  • filing accurate and timely contribution and expenditure transactions
  • signing all statements of organization and transaction filings (signatures filed using ORESTAR are accepted electronically)
  • keeping detailed financial records current to within 7 days after the date of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure
  • preserving records for at least two years following the election to which the documents refer or the date of filing of the last transaction, whichever is later[4].

Political committee

All groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure in the State of Oregon is considered to be a political committee[5].

Statement of Organization

Chief petitioners sponsoring an initiative, referendum, and recall petition must file a Statement of Organization. When proposing an initiative in Oregon, the chief petitioners are required to register their committee and disclose their finances with the state Elections Division. The registration must occur within 3 business days of first receiving a contribution or making an expenditure, but no later than the date the petition is approved for circulation. All recall petitioners must register when filing the prospective recall petition[6].

Campaign finance requirements

Anonymous Contributions

Committees can not accept an anonymous contribution. If a committee cannot identify a contributor, the contribution must be donated to an organization that can accept anonymous contributions.

Campaign account requirement

In Oregon, each group in support or opposition of a ballot question must have a separate depository account with a bank or credit union in Oregon. Under the law, the full committee name must be used as the bank account name. Each contribution received by a committee must be deposited into the committee’s campaign account not later than seven days after the date the contribution is received[7].

Contributions

Under Oregon law, contributions are defined as the payment, loan, gift, forgiving of indebtedness, or furnishing without equivalent compensation or consideration, of money, services other than personal services for which no compensation is asked or given, supplies, equipment or any other thing of value for the purpose of influencing the out come of a ballot measure[8].

A contribution is also any unfulfilled pledge, subscription, agreement or promise, whether or not legally enforceable.

Contribution limits

Under Oregon law, there are no contribution limits on donations to groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure[9]. Oregon is one of six states in the nation to not have contribution limits to candidates[9].

Expenditures

All expenditures made by a committee must be drawn from the campaign account and either issued on a check signed by the candidate or treasurer of the committee, or by any other individual designated as a signer on the account, or paid using a debit card or other form of electronic transmission. This does not prohibit a person from making an expenditure on behalf of the committee and receiving reimbursement from the campaign account[10].

Loans

Loans received from entities other than a financial institution (including personal loans from individuals)are non-exempt loans. A non-exempt loan is a contribution until the loan is repaid in full. The terms of the loan, including the interest rate and repayment schedule, must be disclosed[11].

Reporting requirements and reports

Mandatory Electronic reporting

Oregon law requires electronic filing of all campaign finance activity for groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure[12].

Real-time reporting

Oregon is different from other states as transactions must be reported on a continuous basis with every transaction having its own filing deadline. Transactions filed online with ORESTAR will automatically calculate transaction due dates. A transaction is due not later than 12 midnight on the day of the deadline to file a transaction. ORESTAR eliminates the need for separate paper campaign finance reporting forms.

In a odd numbered year, a transaction is due no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the transaction[13]. During an even-numbered year, a transaction is due no later than 12 midnight seven days after the transaction’s occurrence during three specific time frames:

  • the 42nd day before the date of the primary election and ending on the date of the primary election
  • the 42nd day before the date that is four months prior to the general election and ending on the date four months before the general election
  • the 42nd day before the date of the general election and ending on the date of the general election[14].

Otherwise, a transaction is due no later than 30 days after its occurrence[15].

Terminating a committee

A committee may discontinue its registration and cease its reporting obligations if it no longer intends to receive contributions or make expenditures and a zero balance is achieved by having no cash on hand, outstanding debts, or obligations

A committee can report a zero balance by disclosing all debts (loans, personal expenditures and accounts payable) as being repaid or forgiven. A balance in the committee’s account may be depleted by any legal means. A donation to a charitable organization or to another committee are both acceptable expenditures. All transactions bringing the committee to a zero balance must be reported[16].

Campaign advertising restrictions

There are no laws in Oregon restricting campaign advertising or requiring disclaimers on advertising[17].

See also

External links

References

  1. "Oregon Legislature" Oregon Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 260.345(1))
  2. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.345(2),(3))
  3. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Section 260.035)
  4. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Section 260.055)
  5. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.005 (16)(a))
  6. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.035 Oregon Revised Statutes)
  7. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Section 260.054))
  8. "Oregon Legislature" Oregon Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Section 260.007(3)(A))
  9. 9.0 9.1 "NCSL" National Conference of State Legislatures" Contribution Limits: An Overview, April 20, 2009
  10. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.054(2-5)
  11. http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/260.html Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"](Referenced Statute 260.005(3a))
  12. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.057)
  13. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.118(7))
  14. "Oregon Legislature" Oregon Campaign Finance Law(Referenced Statute 260.118(5)(a))
  15. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.118(7))
  16. Oregon Legislature, "Oregon Campaign Finance Law"(Referenced Statute 260.046)
  17. [There are no strictly defined advertising statutes in Chapter 260 of Oregon Statutes]