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Oregon Supreme Court Affirms Unlimited Campaign Contributions

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon political campaigns will continue to have access to unlimited campaign contributions. That’s the upshot of a ruling Thursday from the Oregon Supreme Court.

In 2006, Oregon voters approved caps on campaign contributions. Political donations from corporations and unions were outlawed altogether.

But for the caps to kick in, Oregon needed a Constitutional change. And a separate measure to do that at the same was not passed by the people. So the state never enforced the caps.

Advocates for the donations limits, including Portland attorney Dan Meek, took their case all the way to Oregon’s highest court.

“Low income families don’t make any campaign contributions, or make extremely small ones,” Meek says. “And the large majority of the money going to candidates for office come from very large contributions.”

But now the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that the state was right not to enforce the caps on contributions. Most other states have limits on political contributions.

Washington, for instance, sets a cap of $1,800 for donations to statewide campaigns.

On the Web:

Oregon Supreme Court ruling

Oregon Measure 47 (2006)

Washington state campaign contribution limits

Idaho contribution limits

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