How much money can you donate to a campaign for Governor of Oregon?

I want to give Tina Kotek money in the gubernatorial race because Betsy Johnson is an armed narcissist and Christine Drazan is a petty Trump lapdog. Under state campaign finance laws, how much money can I donate directly to Kotek’s campaign? -Very concerned

Hey, America! Tired of being harassed by The Man for smoking weed, possessing 1.99 grams of hard drugs for personal use, or giving suspicious unregulated amounts of money to your favorite political candidates? Come to oh so permissive Oregon, the Las Vegas of everything but gambling, and let it all hang out! (Plus, we have games of chance.)

How much money can you give to Tina Kotek or any other candidate for office in the State of Oregon? How much do you have? Oregon is one of five states, along with Alabama, Nebraska, Utah and Virginia, that imposes no limits on campaign contributions from any source. (Five others* allow unlimited contributions from individuals, but restrict those from corporations, unions, political action committees, etc.)

Even though you can only donate $2,900 per cycle to a presidential campaign, you can donate $7 million if you wish to an anonymous candidate for the Oregon legislature. (You could give even more; I just picked $7 million because that would buy a strip-o-gram for every voter in a State House district.)

How did the Oregon Blue United end up to the right of Texas on campaign finance? The exceptionally broad free speech clause of our state constitution (or at least an interpretation of it) has been a factor. In 1997 Vannatta vs. Keisling13 years before United Citizens, the Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that massive campaign contributions are a protected form of free expression, such as nude pole dancing. It would be unconstitutional, the judges ruled, for the state to impose restrictions (or pasties) on them, even on very large ones.

Recently, however, the court reversed itself, ruling in 2020 that campaign finance limits passed in 2016 by Multnomah County voters were not necessarily unconstitutional. It just might open the door to statewide limits, so we can finally get the dirty money out of Oregon politics and put it back into Oregon journalism, where it belongs. .

*For those counting the points at home: Indiana, Iowa, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Texas.

Questions? Send them to [email protected].

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