Information and Updates on the City of Portland Campaign Finance Charter Amendment (Portland Ballot Measure 26-200)
(Latest update: March 20, 2019)
On February 7, 2019, the City Attorney’s Office filed a petition in Multnomah County Circuit Court seeking a ruling that the recent campaign finance City Charter amendment passed by voters and the implementing City Code (Charter Chapter 3, Article 3 and City Code Chapter 2.10) are constitutional under both state and federal constitutions.
The court has not yet ruled on the petition and a summary judgement hearing has not yet been scheduled. Any updates on these proceedings will be published in this space.
Qualifying for the ballot via an initiative petition, on November 6, 2018, voters amended the City of Portland Charter relating to the election of City of Portland candidates (Mayor, Commissioners, Auditor) by generally requiring:
- Campaign contribution limits;
- Expenditure and independent expenditure limits;
- Registration as a political committee for certain entities;
- Disclosure requirements for funding for certain types of communications;
- An employee’s right to make campaign contributions by payroll deduction in some circumstances; and
- Some mechanisms to administer and enforce those provisions.
On January 16, 2019, the Portland City Council took the first step to carry out the voters’ will by adopting Ordinance No. 189348 to implement the Charter amendment.
On March 6, 2018, the Multnomah County Circuit Court struck down similar provisions passed by Multnomah County voters related to contribution limits, expenditure and independent expenditure limits, and disclosure requirements. City Ordinance No. 189348 therefore asked the City Attorney to petition the court to provide legal certainty (via the validation proceeding currently underway) about the constitutionality of the City’s campaign finance provisions.
What is the status of the campaign finance legislation while the validation proceedings move their way through the courts?
The campaign finance requirements set forth in Charter Chapter 3, Article 3 and City Code Chapter 2.10 take effect on September 1, 2019. The City is hopeful that the Multnomah County Circuit Court will issue a ruling validating the legality of these provisions before the September implementation date.