Kyle Markley, candidate for Oregon Secretary of State

Kyle Markley
for Oregon Secretary of State

(The following statement against Portland City Measure 26-200 was published in the Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas County Voters' Pamphlets.)

This measure is unconstitutional censorship. Voting for this measure is voting to waste taxpayer money on lawyers.

A nearly identical measure was passed in 2016 as Measure 26-184, a Multnomah County Charter amendment. The Multnomah County Circuit Court recently ruled that that measure's contribution and expenditure limits were unconstitutional (case no. 17CV18006).

Also recently, the Oregon Supreme Court reaffirmed that political contributions are constitutionally protected. Quoting Markley/Lutz v. Rosenblum, 362 Or 531, 413 P3d 966 (2018):

Article I, section 8, of the Oregon Constitution prohibits laws "restraining the free expression of opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print free[ly] on any subject whatever." See State v. Robertson, 293 Or 402, 649 P2d 569 (1982) (interpreting Article I, section 8). This court held in Vannatta v. Keisling, 324 Or 514, 931 P2d 770 (1997) (Vannatta I), that making contributions to candidates is protected expression and that laws limiting the amount of contributions that a person, corporation, or union makes to candidates or political committees violate Article I, section 8. 324 Or at 537-39; clarifying Vannatta I).

This measure has no chance of surviving a court challenge. Adopting this would merely cause another round of litigation, a complete waste of resources for a foregone conclusion.

This measure is invasive and limits the ability of ordinary people to get involved in politics. Section 3-302(c)(1):

An Individual may make aggregate Independent Expenditures of not more than five thousand dollars ($5,000).

This makes it illegal to spend "too much" of your own money on your own communications to support or oppose a candidate. You could not do things (e.g. send direct mail) that political organizations still could – but organizations aren't supposed to have more rights than people!

This measure even limits how much of a candidate's own money they can spend on their campaign. Muzzling the candidate themselves is the pinnacle of censorship.

© Kyle Markley
Libertarian candidate for Oregon Secretary of State
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