Oregon vows to wake up its campaign finance investigators
Oregon officials have announced efforts to strengthen enforcement of campaign finance laws after reporting from the state's largest newspaper found the supposed election watchdog sleeping on the job.
The Oregonian reported last week on the case of a state House member, Democrat Deborah Boone, allegedly laundering campaign contributions by accepting donations after she announced her retirement last year and then making gifts to several candidates for the Legislature at the direction of her donors. But the state's campaign finance agency, called the Elections Division, dropped its investigation this summer as soon as Boone denied she'd done anything improper.
On Tuesday, GOP Secretary of State Bev Clarno and other state officials promised to review the state's campaign finance investigation process, with plans to revamp the system.
They said the changes would include:
- An audit of the Elections Division to review current functions and suggest areas for improvement.
- Bringing perjury cases against people who lie to finance regulators.
- Asking the Legislature to approve funds for two new elections investigation positions.
The Elections Division is also considering initiating its own investigations. In the past, the agency has only investigated complaints from outside parties.
The officials said the new enforcement efforts would be focused only on future infractions.
- Blue Oregon pledges its electoral votes to the national winner, if red ... ›
- Voters to decide future of Oregon's campaign finance regulation ... ›
Marginal improvements have been made to help voters understand the questions posed to them on the ballot this November, a new study concludes, but such ballot measures still favor the college-educated — who represent a minority of the U.S. population.
This year voters in eight states will decide the fate of a collective 36 such propositions. In a study released Thursday, Ballotpedia assessed how easy it is to comprehend what each proposal would accomplish, concluding that the difficulty level had decreased compared with the referendums decided in the last off-year election of 2017 — but not by much.
In fact, according to a pair of well-established tests, 21 of the 36 ballot measures cannot be understood by the 40 percent of the voting-age population who never attended college.
Colorado has become the second state to ask the Supreme Court to decide if states may legally bind their presidential electors to vote for the candidate who carried their state.
The issue of so-called faithless electors is the latest aspect of an increasingly heated debate about the virtues and flaws of the Electoral College that has blossomed, especially among progressive democracy reform advocates, now that two of the past five presidential winners (Donald Trump in 2016 and George W. Bush in 2000) got to the Oval Office despite losing the national popular vote.