Campaign funds in 2018 Oregon races came from small number of donors

Campaigns in Oregon during the 2018 election cycle were funded largely by a few individuals and groups concentrated in the greater Portland area.

Posted: Jun 10, 2019 12:55 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Campaigns in Oregon during the 2018 election cycle were funded largely by a few individuals and groups concentrated in the greater Portland area.

That’s according to a report released Monday by the nonprofit research organization MapLight.

The Statesman Journal reports that among the key findings were that businesses, labor unions and other groups were responsible for 60 percent of candidate funding and 89 percent of ballot measure funding. Also, 14 donors gave more than $100,000 to candidates, which was 25 percent of all candidate funding from individuals. And 60 percent of contributions to statewide candidates came from individuals living in just 20 zip codes, most around Portland.

The report comes days after the Oregon House of Representatives passed a package of campaign finance reform bills that would set contribution caps.

Oregon is one of only five states in the country that allows unlimited contributions.

The three bills are now in the Senate, and despite bipartisan interest in campaign finance reform, they have received criticism from all sides throughout session. Some advocates don’t believe the bills go far enough to limit big donors’ influence, while others said the bills don’t focus on the right aspect of the problem.

“The current proposed campaign contribution limits are useful to prevent the really large contributions, the outliers, but what they won’t do is fundamentally change the way campaigns are financed,” Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon, said in a statement with the report.

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