Big Money In Oregon State Elections

Restoring Balance To Democracy By Empowering Small Donors

A report by OSPIRG Foundation and Frontier Group
Charlie Fisher, OSPIRG Foundation
Rachel J. Cross, Frontier Group

The influence of big money on politics drowns out the voices of regular Oregonians and makes it difficult or impossible for qualified candidates to run for office without access to deep-pocketed donors. We need our government to be open to everyone, regardless the size of their wallet or connections to big donors.

Large Donors Dominate Donation Dollars

In Oregon’s 2016 state elections, large donors and other contributors like PACs accounted for 97 percent of all campaign contributions. The dominance of big money in campaigns makes access to large donations key to running successful campaigns - discouraging Oregonians with an interest in public service to run for office and overwhelming the voting power of the people.

The prevalence of large donors affecting elections highlights the need to empower small voters and balance the scales of our democracy.

We can restore balance to our elections by amplifying the voices of small donors.

The voices of small donors are being crushed under the weight of large donors’ pocketbooks. By instituting a small donor matching program, we can strengthen the power of all voters, regardless of the size of their wallets.

If Oregon had a small donor matching program during the 2016 elections, matching funds to candidate campaigns would have totaled $12.5 million, and small donors and small donor matching funds would have outraised large donors by $4.1 million.

Take Action

Support Small Donor Elections

State legislators are considering reform that would empower everyday voters in elections and reduce the influence of big money. Let lawmakers know you support elections powered by small donors, and encourage them to take action.
Amplify Your Voice
Big money donors are dominating Oregon’s state elections, but we can put the power back in voters’ hands. Tell your friends and family how a small donor system can amplify their voices.

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