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.
This measure is a fundamental attack on the Oregon Bill of Rights, removing all protections for electioneering speech.
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 except politics
That's what this measure does to your freedom of speech.This measure authorizes limits (including total prohibitions!) on contributions and expenditures "made in connection with political campaigns or to influence the outcome of any election."
It authorizes limits for ballot measures, where corruption is impossible because there is no elected official to corrupt. Government should not have any power to limit issue advocacy.
It authorizes limits for private elections, such as for corporate boards of directors, churches, professional societies, charities, and anything else. It's an invitation for the government to meddle where it doesn't belong.
It authorizes limits that are obviously unfair, such as banning electioneering by corporations but not by unions, or vice versa. (Supporters are hoping you don't notice this!)
This measure is far too broad. The ACLU and the NRA are both engaged in long-term issue advocacy political campaigns. Donations to groups like these could be limited even at times when they aren't supporting or opposing legislation.
This measure will limit non-electioneering activity, too. Political organizations may need to hire lawyers to defend their civil rights (e.g. Farris v. Seabrook, 677 F.3d 858 (9th Cir. 2012)), or to litigate matters of internal governance (e.g. Reeves v. Wagner, 295 Or App 295 (2018)), and contribution limits will imperil their access to the courts.
There are no safeguards on this power, and that's no mistake.
This measure could have been written to only cover elections "to public office." It could have guaranteed that limits wouldn't advantage some viewpoints over others. It could have required limits to be tied directly to electioneering activity.
It doesn't have any of these protections, which tells you everything you need to know.
All of my other arguments against Measure 107 are available online.