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The City of Portland, Oregon

Auditor Mary Hull Caballero

Promoting open and accountable government

Campaign Finance in Candidate Elections

Campaign Finance in City Elections

On November 6, 2018, voters amended the City of Portland Charter relating to the election of City of Portland candidates (Mayor, Commissioners, Auditor) by requiring contribution and expenditure limits in campaigns as well as requiring disclosures on certain campaign communications, additional registration of expenditures with the Secretary of State, and employee political deductions via payroll. 

UPDATE ON LEGAL STATUS: Portions of the Charter amendments currently valid and enforceable by the Auditor's Office due to recent legal proceedings are as follows: 

As of October 6, 2020:  The Multnomah County Circuit Court entered a General Judgment confirming the constitutional enforceability of Portland City Code Section 2.10.010 and City Charter Section 3-301. The following sections on expenditure limits were held to be invalid: Charter Sections 3-302(a), (c) and Code Sections 2.10.020(A), (C).  

The Circuit Court did not address Charter Section 3-301(b)(3), which limits the amount a candidate may loan to the candidate’s own campaign.  (No similar rule was addressed by the Court in Mehrweineither.)  Self-funding limits have been held to be unconstitutional under federal law (for example, see Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) and Davis v. Federal Election Com’n, 554 U.S. 724 (2008)), and that section is not being enforced by the Auditor’s Office.

As of April 23, 2020:  Based on the Oregon Supreme Court decision in Multnomah County vs. Mehrwein, 366 Or 295 (2020), the portions of Code Section 2.10.010 and Charter Section 3-301, Contributions in City of Portland Candidate Elections, are constitutional.  The Auditor's Office began enforcing contribution limits as outlined in those regulations on Monday, May 4, 2020

Note: Contribution limits will not be enforced retroactively. 

As of September 1, 2019:  This was the effective date of the law as passed by voters.  Based on a June 10, 2019, Multnomah County Circuit Court Order, the following provisions were constitutional and enforceable on the September 1, 2019, effective date: 

  • Independent Expenditure registration (via OR Secretary of State campaign finance database): Charter Sections 3-302(b) and Code Sections 2.10.020(B).
  • Employee Political Committee donations through payroll deduction (for all Portland employers): Charter Sections 3-301(c) and Code Sections 2.10.010(C).
  • Timely, detailed disclosures for communication related to City candidates; includes online, print, radio, streaming, billboard, and video communications (for Political Committees, Independent Spenders, entities, individuals, candidates, and their campaigns): Charter Sections 3-303 and Code Sections 2.10.030. 

Relevant legal documents: 


If you have questions about implementation or believe there has been a violation of City campaign finance regulations, please email the Elections Office at elections@portlandoregon.gov or call 503-823-3546. 


Campaign Finance Regulations Complaint Form

Use this form to submit campaign finance regulations complaints (Note: Form features work best in Microsoft Edge)

Complaints

Complaints and determinations regarding compliance with City Campaign Regulations (City Code 2.10 & City Charter Chapter 3, Article 3)

Campaign Finance Adminsitrative Rules

ARA 13.01 Disclosure requirements and ARA 13.02 Complaint process

Status of Campaign Finance Charter Amendment

Legal updates, court opinions, and City validation action

Guidance: Timely Disclosures in Candidate Campaigns

Guidance for candidate and campaigns

City Code Section Requiring Campaign Disclosure

Portland City Code Section 2.10.030