Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fixing Sizemore, McIntire,Williams,Norquist, etc.etc.etc.

This week the Westlund campaign announced their latest in a long list of stuff to woo the votes of Oregonians.

Westlund has decided that the initiative process in Oregon needs reforming and has launched Initiative Reform on his website:

Ben's reforms of the initiative system should come with these objectives in mind:
*Ensure that Oregon signature gatherers adhere to existing law
*Keep out-of-state signature gatherers accountable to Oregon’s laws
*Keep out-of-state money and influence in the petition process to a minimum
*Protect the intentions of the citizens who legitimately sign a petition
*Above all: Encourage grassroots, citizen-based activism over special-interest campaigns

Ben's Plan

As Governor, Ben will enforce penalties for those who knowingly break gathering laws and make initiative sponsors and treasurers personally and financially responsible for breaches of election law (such as candidates and treasurers are personally responsible for campaign finance fraud).

Ben will ensure that out-of-state interests adhere to Oregon’s laws by:
*Working with other states to create a reciprocal system of election laws whereby a violation of one is punishable under another state’s Fair Business Practices
*Mandating that any company involved in Oregon’s initiative qualification process has at least one Oregonian as a primary officer
*Requiring that petition circulators be Oregon residents (currently, there is no requirement to be a circulator)

I don't have any problem with these changes..but they're pretty shallow. Especially given the fact that campaigns can hide donors who bankroll their initiatives due to loopholes in Oregon law.

The best way to regulate the initiative process in Oregon is to make certain its completely transparent. If we know the money is all coming in from out-of-state--that information can be given to voters.

If the Westlund campaign (or any other individual/entity) really wants to reign in the process, closing these loopholes is the better way to start.