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O r e g o n


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Campaign Disclosure Law
Electronic Filing Program
Disclosure Content Accessibility
Online Contextual & Technical Usability

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The State of Disclosure in Oregon

Although Oregon has a strong disclosure law and mandatory electronic filing of campaign finance reports, it received a barely passing grade. Oregon's performance was poorest in Disclosure Content Accessibility and web site usability.

Oregon's disclosure law ranked sixth in the study and requires candidates to file two statements before each election, plus one statement in non-election years. Candidates must disclose information about contributors who give $50 or more, including their occupations and employers. Last-minute contributions of more than $500 and independent expenditures of more than $1,000 must be reported before the election. All expenditures must be disclosed and some subvendor information is required. Oregon requires electronic filing for any campaign that reaches a threshold of $50,000, but this mandate is waived if the filer submits a form stating they are unable to file reports in an electronic format. Starting in 2004, these waivers will no longer be permitted.

While the Secretary of State does post some campaign finance data on its disclosure web site, no significant improvements have been made since electronic filing began several years ago and large holes in the online information remain. The site offers an HTML display of summary figures raised and spent by all state level candidates, for all election-related reports going back at least a decade. However, the only itemized contribution and expenditure data on the web site (displayed as scanned-in images) is either from late contribution reports or from reports filed during the legislative session; with a legislature that normally meets just six months out of every two years, there isn't much information there. Why the agency posts the details contained in these reports, but not the details of regular election filings, is unclear but may be related to what agency staff described as inadequate funding for its electronic filing and online disclosure program.

Contextual information on the Secretary of State's web site is good but could be expanded to give the public a better overall understanding of campaign disclosure in Oregon. A comprehensive campaign finance manual on the site describes Oregon's disclosure requirements and campaign finance restrictions, and is especially helpful in conjunction with the full text of the state's disclosure law, which is also on the site. What's missing though, is a simple list of all candidates and how much money they raised and spent in each election, which should be easy to compile from the individual candidate reports on the site that already contain those summary figures.

Technical usability scores for the agency's web site were also low and usability testers had trouble finding campaign finance data for the current governor, further indicating room for improvement in site design and user-friendliness.

Disclosure Agency: Secretary of State
Disclosure Web Site:

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This page was first published on September 17, 2003
| Last updated on September 17, 2003
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