Help End Corrupt Politics In Oregon!
Politics in Oregon is corrupted by big money, eagerly collected by candidates in order to get themselves elected to office. This corporatization of democracy has become so blatant that voters would have to be in a coma to miss it.
A Perfect Example: House Bill 3220 / Ballot Measure 90 / House Bill 3696
State Representative Jim Hill, a Republican from Hillsboro, openly acknowledged during the 1999 Legislative session that he was "carrying water for the utilities" by helping them enact House Bill 3220. This bill allowed Portland General Electric to continue to collect $304 million dollars in profit from ratepayers until 2011, for the abandoned Trojan Nuclear Plant. It overturned a ballot measure enacted by Oregon voters in 1978, prohibiting utilities from charging ratepayers for anything not actually providing service to ratepayers. With the help of prior campaign contributions and an expensive lobbying effort, PGE and PP&L convinced the Legislature to overwhelmingly pass HB 3220 and Governor Kitzhaber dutifully signed it into law. Using Oregon's referendum process, Oregonians collected over 60,000 signatures to place HB 3220 on the November 2000 election ballot as Ballot Measure 90. When the results of the election were in, 88% of Oregonians voted against Ballot Measure 90 overwhelmingly defeating HB 3220. But big money never rests and now the 2001 Legislature has passed HB 3696 into law, once again carrying water for private utilities.
HB 3696 is the biggest electric utility deregulation bill ever passed by the Legislature. Like HB 3220, it overturns the ballot measure enacted by Oregon voters in 1978, prohibiting private utilities from charging ratepayers for anything not actually provide service to customers. While HB 3696 does not apply to Trojan, it allows utilities to earn profits on broken utility plants in the future. Once again Governor Kitzhaber has dutifully signed this bill into law and because the Legislature attached an emergency clause, it cannot be subjected to Oregon's referendum process. It's a sure bet that financing future political campaigns is always a concern of career politicians!
How does this happen to us over and over again?
Big money, pure and simple!. Large corporate and individual campaign contributions are a corrupting influence on those seeking office. Rather than serving the interest of the people, many elected officials opt to serve only those few corporate contributors who help them build massive campaign war chests to outspend their opponents. And in some cases, it isn't even the money but only the threat of it. Recently Bill Sizemore openly vowed to support opponents to any Republican that would vote to reduce the "kicker" by even 50% in this legislative session:
Challengers, paid for by unnamed donors, may take on any who touch the kicker. Tax activist Bill Sizemore had a message Monday for Republican lawmakers who want to keep their jobs in the next election: don't mess with the kicker. "The consequence of going along with a plan to steal all or half the kicker will be dire," said Sizemore. (Emphasis added) The Oregonian, 4/17/01
With no contribution limits on donations made to candidates in Oregon, Sizemore's threat carries serious weight. Without even spending a single cent he has the ability to change legislators votes. This is not democracy at work, this is the corruption of democracy by big money.
Get Petitions - Help enact Campaign Finance Reform!
Oregonians need to limit campaign contributions to candidates. Presently there are no limits at all. A candidate can accept any amount of money from any source. "Money Is Not Democracy" has sponsored an initiative that would ban political contributions from "for profit corporations", limit which "non-profit corporations" can contribute and limit individual contributions. Bill Sizemore is appealing the ballot title on this petition in order to delay it from being circulated. Show Bill Sizemore that you believe democracy belongs to us all. Sign this petition and help collect signatures.