What We Do

Campaign Reforms - Limits on out-of-state and out-of-district contributions: Oregon

In 1994 Oregon voters approved a ballot initiative banning out-of-state and out-of-district contributions to candidates running for state offices. When the measure was challenged, NVRI filed an amicus brief in its defense. NVRI believes that states have a compelling interest in protecting the integrity of their political process from the influence of large, external donors with no stake in local governance.

On August 11, 1998, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the measure was unconstitutional. Vannatta v. Keisling, 151 F.3d 1215 (9th Cir. 1998). However, Judge Melvin Brunetti issued a strong dissent. Judge Brunetti embraced our arguments and the arguments of the defense counsel and concluded: "Oregon has a sufficiently important interest in protecting republican government by ensuring that elections are truly a measure of the preferences of those eligible to vote." 151 F.3d at 1223. In language that closely resembles our wealth primary arguments, Judge Brunetti stated: "With the increasing importance of fundraising in elections generally and in Oregon in particular, elections... for all intents and purposes are often decided well before any resident steps into a voting booth."

To read more about this case, visit our legal library