Friday, September 22, 2006

Why Measures 46 & 47 Suck

[Correction: M47 would not effect ballot initiative. It effects giving to candidates. I apologize for the error.
However, the main point about the inequity of M47 still stands. Its still means that fat cat donors can give large donations to campaigns while not allowing groups to do the same. And it still sucks.]

One of the things that really burrs up my saddle about the initiative process in Oregon is the lack of an impact statement to go along with the proposals.

What I mean by that is I think there ought to be research done by a nonpartisan, government entity which looks at each initiative proposal before they're circulated for signatures. That research should study how that initiative would impact Oregonians. The reports finding would then have to accompany the initiative during the circulating process as well as published in the papers.

In my view, had this been done with 46 & 47, they'd never have made the ballot.

Measure 46 is a single sentence which changes the Oregon Constitution to allow spending limits. As it stands, Oregon has some of the most broad free speech laws in the nation--and campaign contributions are counted among them.

Measure 47 is the real barn burner, though. It puts up hard core restrictions for campaign giving for membership organizations, unions, and non-profit organizations. At first blush, this might seem reasonable. But what 47 fails to do is place restrictions on individual donors.

This means that uber wealthy fat cats like Loren Parks and Howard Rich get to keep on writing their massive checks to rightwing nutjob ballot initiatives while everybody else has their hands tied.

Campaign finance reform is a serious issue and needs to be addressed. But this mess isn't going to do it. Its only going to create a vacuum to be filled by the in and out of state wealthy who will be catered to by politicians in order to get campaign money.

Just say no.