Oregon No Public Resources To Collect Political Funds, Measure 64 (2008)

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Oregon No Public Resources To Collect Political Funds, Measure 64 (IRR 25) was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. It was defeated.

Measure 50, if it had passed, would have prohibited money collected with the use of public resources from being used for political purposes, except elections, official voter pamphlets and most lobbying. "Political purpose" is defined as: candidates, political committee or party, initiative or referendum committee, and supporting/opposing candidates or ballot measures (including signature gathering for petitions).[1]

Election results

See also: Oregon Ballot Measure 64 votes, by county
Measure 64
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No854,32750.56%
Yes 835,563 49.44%
Election results from Oregon Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title of Measure 64 was:

Penalizes Person, Entity for Using Funds Collected with “Public Resource” (Defined) for “Political Purpose”[2][3]

Statute text

The full text of the proposed state statute is available here.


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This historical ballot measure article requires that the text of the measure be added to the page.

Background

The measure was initially filed as a potential initiative by chief petitioner Bill Sizemore in 2006. In December 2007, Sizemore turned in 139,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2008 ballot.

Sizemore put similar measures on the Oregon ballot in 1998 and 2000; both were defeated after Oregon unions spent millions of dollars to fight them. Measure 59 was defeated 51-49; two years later, Measure 92 was defeated by a wider margin--55-45. Also in 2000, another similar measure, Measure 98, was defeated by 53-47.

Sizemore has filed nearly identical initiatives every two years since, although none qualified for the ballot until 2008. For 2010, he's filed Initiative Petition 25, which would make political contributions from unions "bribery."

Support

Supporters

The official name of the initiative petition committee to put Measure 64 on the ballot was Ban Public Money for Politics.[4] The political committee that campaigned in support of Measure 64 was "Oregonians for Honest Elections."[5]

According to proponents, the idea behind Measure 64 was to draw a wall of separation between government resources and private political organizations. This idea is not new. In many places, laws prohibiting the use of public resources to collect political funds have been on the books since statehood.[6]

Organizations that use public resources to collect political funds spent millions of dollars to defeat Measure 64.[7] Supporters of Measure 64 argue the reason these organizations are willing to spend millions opposing Measure 64 is that passage of Measure 64 would require these organizations to raise money for their political campaigns without the government’s help.

At least one proponent of Measure 64 took serious issue with the campaign that was being waged against Measure 64. This proponent stated:

The multi-million dollar campaign against Measure 64 is one of the ugliest political campaigns Oregon has ever seen. Rather than explaining why there should not be a wall of separation between our government and the political fundraising activities of special interest organizations, opponents have resorted to the argument that voters’ should oppose Measure 64 because Bill Sizemore is one of the chief sponsors of the measure. Opponents have also resorted to ads that falsely assert Oregonians will go hungry and charities will be hurt if Measure 64 passes. Most outrageous of all is the fact that our tax dollars helped produce these cynical advertisements.

The multi-million dollar campaign against Measure 64 is an affront to the intelligence of Oregon voters. Whether or not there should be a wall of separation between our public resources and private political organizations has nothing to do with Bill Sizemore’s character. A law that keeps the nurses’ union from using our tax dollars to build their political action committee will not keep nurses from nursing. A law that prevents teachers from using our public school buildings to raise political money will not keep teachers from teaching. A law that prohibits public resources from being used to collect political funds will not prevent teachers, the Oregon Food Bank, or any other organization from having bake sales and food drives on public property to raise money for educations, charitable, or other non-political purposes. Measure 64 will not prevent firefighters from putting out fires or cause Oregonians to go hungry.

The argument for why there should be a wall of separation between public resources and private political organizations is simple: Your tax dollars should not be used to help fund organizations advancing political agendas with which you disagree. The organizations you disagree with have the right to raise political funds to advocate for their interests, but they should raise the money on their own without the government’s sanction or support. The government exists for the benefit of everyone and public resources should not be used to promote the political views of certain favored organizations, just as public resources should not be used to promote the religious views of certain favored organizations.

There should be a wall of separation between public resources and private political organizations. Please Vote Yes On Measure 64."[8][3]

The Oregonian reported in September 2007 that Nevada-based millionaire Loren Parks was the leading contributor to put Measure 64 on the ballot.[9] According to the newspaper, Parks gave money directly to the signature gathering firm, rather than to Sizemore directly.

Opposition

Opponents

Measure 64 is opposed by the Don't Silence Our Voice committee. It is also opposed by Defend Oregon, which opposes all of Bill Sizemore's ballot initiatives.

"Don't Silence Our Voices" describes itself as "a broad coalition of community advocates, charities, and labor organizations committed to protecting the voices of all Oregonians."

The official Oregon voter's pamphlet has arguments in opposition from the United Way, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Oregon PTA, the Oregon Education Association, the League of Women Voters, and the Oregon State Council of Fire Fighters, among others.

Arguments against

  • Measure 64 would limit the ability of working people to participate in politics, but would still allow out-of-state corporations and millionaires to spend money freely, giving them even more political influence in Oregon. (Steve Novick, Blue Oregon, October 24)
  • From the Oregonian's No on 64 endorsement: "Of course, this would have the effect of giving Oregon firefighters and nurses less voice in Oregon politics than Loren Parks, which is not most Oregonians' view of how things should work. But the measure also runs the risk of badly hurting Oregon charitable organizations, which is why so many of them have raised their voices loudly in the campaign. Oregon public employees contribute to many state charities through payroll deductions, and the charities are concerned, after reading the measure's language and consulting attorneys, that they will be banned from speaking on behalf of their clients."
  • The measure would have damaging effects, including restricting public employee unions' ability to collect dues from members.[10]
  • The Yamhill News Register says, "Though seemingly sensible on its surface, in practice, both these measures prohibit political free speech by public employees.[11]

Donors

The Oregon Nurses Association donated $500,000 to the campaign against the proposal.

Defend Oregon, as a committee, is fighting seven different ballot measures, and supporting two others. As a result, it is not possible to discern how much of its campaign warchest is going specifically to defeat Measure 59. Altogether, the group has raised over $6 million in 2008.[12]

Major donations to the Defend Oregon group as of October 8 include:[13]

Newspaper endorsements

Below is a chart showing the position of the editorial boards of Oregon's major newspapers on Measure 64.

See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures.

Newspapers Yes No
The Oregonian No
Medford Mail-Tribune No
Statesman Journal No
Bend Bulletin No
Portland Tribune No
Eugene Register-Guard No
Daily Astorian No
East Oregonian No
Corvallis Gazette Times (dead link) No
Coos Bay The World No
Willamette Week No
Yamhill Valley News Register No
Gresham Outlook No

No Oregon newspapers have endorsed a yes vote on Measure 64.

Path to the ballot

On May 13, 2008, the Oregon Secretary of State announced that according to an unofficial verification conducted by their office, supporters of the measure had turned in 87,348 valid signatures, slightly more than the 82,769 required. This represented a validity rate of 66% of the 132,347 signatures turned in. Democracy Direct was hired to collect signatures for the measure[17][18]

A union-funded watchdog group asked the Oregon Secretary of State to conduct an investigation into how some of the signatures on the measure were collected. Bill Bradbury, the Secretary of State has said, ""...most all of the initiatives Oregon voters will decide this fall got there through practices that are now illegal. But those practices were legal at the time most of the signatures were submitted." A lawsuit has been filed in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the new laws governing the initiative process in Oregon.[19][20][21]

See also

External links

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Suggest a link

Basic information

Support

Opposition

References

  1. Official Summary of Measure 25
  2. Oregon Blue Book website, accessed December 12, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. Official support committee registration
  5. Oregonians for Honest Elections
  6. [See, e.g. Mass. Code, Chapter 55 Section 14, Rhode Island Statutes Section 36-4-53, Florida Statutes 106.15, Cal. Gov. Code Section 84309}
  7. {https://web.archive.org/web/2/https://web.archive.org/web/2/https://secure.sos.state.or.us/eim/publicAccountSummary.do?filerId=13130}
  8. [1]
  9. Loren Parks funds more initiatives
  10. The Oregonian: "Teachers, nurses add $2.5 million to campaigns," September 10, 2008
  11. Yamhill Valley News Register, "Three initiatives just warmed-up leftovers"
  12. Campaign finance history of Defend Oregon for 2008
  13. Record of donations to Defend Oregon
  14. Oregon Live, "Teachers, nurses add $2.5 million to campaigns," September 10, 2008
  15. The Oregonian, "OEA puts $4 million into ballot measure fight," October 8, 2008
  16. Oregonian, "School workers add $100,000 to campaign," August 25, 2008
  17. Sizemore is back at it with the unions
  18. Unofficial signature verification results for Initiative 25
  19. KATU-TV, "Union watchdog group asks for initiative review," July 20, 2008
  20. News.OPB.org: "Progressive Group Claims Ballot Petitions Included Forgeries," Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 15, 2008
  21. NW Labor Press, "Sizemore operation faces new forgery allegations," August 1, 2008