Candidates running for Multnomah County Office
- Contribution and Disclosure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Campaign Contribution Limits and Disclosure Definitions
If you believe there has been a violation of the County’s campaign finance legislation, complaints can be submitted via email at email@example.com or by calling 503-988-0477.
History of Campaign Finance & Disclosure
On Nov. 8, 2016, voters amended the Multnomah County Charter to include limits on campaign contributions and the amount of money that can be spent to support or oppose candidates for Multnomah County office. The measure also requires various disclosures of contributions and spending.
On March 6, 2018, Circuit Court Judge Eric J. Bloch struck down key elements of recent Multnomah County legislation regulating campaign finance in Multnomah County candidate elections. In particular, the court concluded that the following provisions of the legislation violate the free speech clause of the Oregon Constitution:
- Limits on campaign contributions;
- Limits on campaign expenditures and independent expenditures; and
- A requirement to disclose certain funding sources in campaign communications
The court upheld requirements in the amendment around registering as a political committee and employees’ rights to make contributions by payroll deduction as permissible under state and federal law.
On July 18, 2019, the Multnomah County Board approved a resolution to develop an ordinance by December 31, 2019, requiring communications relating to Multnomah County candidate elections to disclose funding sources.
Beginning Dec. 7, 2019, all candidates for the County’s seven elected positions, including County Chair, Sheriff, Commissioners, and Auditor, will face new funding disclosure requirements that require disclosure of funding sources on campaign communications such as audio, video and print advertisements. The disclosures are required for communications funded with more than $300. They apply to individuals — including candidates — as well as entities such as political organizations, corporations and nonprofits that fund communications in support of, or opposition to, candidates for County positions.
On April 23, 2020, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld the county's contribution limits under the Oregon Constitution. The case was sent back to Circuit Court to decide whether the contribution limits are constitutional under the First Amendment. In its decision, the Court explained that the trial court had not reached the question of whether the county's contribution limits violated the First Amendment and, because of the need for factual findings, remanded the case to the trial court to consider that question in the first instance. As a result, the County’s disclosure requirements, along with the payroll deduction and registration requirements, remain in effect. The County’s independent expenditure limits will not go into effect at all given the Supreme Court’s ruling that those limits are unconstitutional under both the state and federal constitution.
The contribution limits went back to the trial court to resolve the outstanding question about the constitutionality of those limits under the First Amendment. In September 2020, a trial judge heard the case.
On August 23, 2021, the trial court validated the contribution limits. The court opinion is listed in the link below.
City of Portland candidates have campaign finance and disclosure requirements. Please visit the City of Portland Elections website for more information. All questions related to City of Portland candidates should be directed to the City of Portland Elections office.
Information on City of Portland candidate public financing is available at the City of Portland website Open and Accountable Elections.
The Oregon Secretary of State is the Campaign Finance office for all candidates and committees.
- Campaign Finance
Information from the Oregon Secretary of State's Office
- Campaign Finance Manuals
For candidates and political committees
- Search ORESTAR
Campaign finance database
Note: Candidates who receive or spend $750 or less in a calendar year, act as their own treasurer and do not already have open principal campaign committee do not need to file campaign information. Please see the Oregon Secretary of State's Candidate Quick Guide (PDF) for more information.