April 26, 2004
Mayor Vera Katz
Commissioner Jim Francesconi
Commissioner Randy Leonard
Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Commissioner Erik Sten
From: Gary Blackmer, City Auditor
Subject: Posting of Campaign Finance Reports on Internet
As you know, our current campaign finance system does not include any campaign finance contribution or spending limits, but instead relies on full disclosure. A recent nationwide assessment of state campaign finance disclosure laws gave Oregon an overall grade of a D-, despite the B+ earned by our strict disclosure laws. The main reason for this poor grade was the inaccessibility of campaign finance information to Internet users. The Secretary of State has appointed a statewide campaign finance disclosure panel to explore options for improving citizen access to campaign finance information.
The Federal Elections Commission and many other states and local jurisdictions are posting campaign finance reports on the internet. Some Oregon jurisdictions are posting reports on-line, including the City of Eugene and the Secretary of State's Elections Division, which posts the smaller supplements to the Pre and Post Election reports.
My office will be exploring online reporting options
as part of our campaign finance reform proposal. In the meantime, we will begin
posting complete campaign finance information for the May 2004 Primary Election
on the City Elections Website in PDF format. We anticipate posting the 1st Pre-election
already filed in my office by the end of this week, and will begin posting the 2nd Pre-Election reports when they are filed on May 6th.
Improvements in scanning technology and the City's new Internet Portal make this much easier, but we recognize this is only a start. Nonetheless, it will help satisfy the many more citizens who now expect internet access to the information. My hope is that this interim step will provide greater transparency to our current election cycle while we explore options for improving our campaign finance system for the future.