for Oregon Secretary of State
I published the following argument in opposition to Measure 107 in the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet for the 2020 General Election.
A political organization is a group of individuals acting together to pursue shared political interests. Persuasive political speech on matters of public interest is the essential activity of such groups. A political organization is a vehicle through which individuals cooperate to jointly exercise their individual rights to political expression. Limits on an organization's speech are actually limits on the speech of the individuals associated with that organization.
During the 2008 primary election season, a political advocacy nonprofit corporation named Citizens United wanted to distribute a documentary (Hillary: The Movie) through cable video-on-demand which was critical of then-Senator Hillary Clinton, who was running for President. Perhaps astonishingly, that was illegal — a felony — at the time. This overt censorship is what the case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was about.
The government argued in the case that it had the authority to ban books, to the astonishment of the Justices. "The government's position is that the First Amendment allows the banning of a book if it's published by a corporation?" (https://tinyurl.com/no107-ct page 28.)
It isn't exaggeration to warn that political contribution and expenditure limits are tantamount to allowing books to be banned. The government has already argued to the United States Supreme Court that they are.
Citizens United was fundamentally about your right to cooperate with others to express your political opinions. It should be an irrelevant detail that the group was organized as a nonprofit corporation. Here was an association of people who pooled their resources for the purpose of publicly criticizing a sitting government official who was seeking higher office.
Should we celebrate such political engagement, or should the government be able to protect incumbents from criticism by censoring their critics during election season?
Measure 107 grants that power. It would be used to reduce or even extinguish the Oregon rights of individuals and organizations to participate in politics. But no one, whether individually or in cooperation with others, should be censored.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.