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Friday Forum: Campaign Finance Reform: How Money is Undermining Oregon's Values

12:00pm, 9-27-2019
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Once a national leader in environmental law, Oregon now consistently trails other West Coast states in protecting its environment. Oregon has become an outlier for another reason. Per capita, it’s first in the nation for corporate donations to lawmakers, and is one of only five states with no limits on political contributions. 

Reporter Rob Davis wrote about this in the recent Oregonian series, “Polluted by Money: How corporate cash corrupted one of the greenest states in America.” Subsequently, Oregon legislators placed a measure on the November 2020 ballot that will ask voters to decide whether to amend the state’s constitution to allow limits on campaign contributions.

What would this ballot measure accomplish? How did Oregon fall so far behind in protecting its environment? What else needs to happen, and what are the obstacles to change? 

Rob Davis is an investigative reporter covering the environment on the watchdog team at The Oregonian, where he’s worked since 2013. The Maryland native previously worked at the innovative nonprofit Voice of San Diego and has written for The New York Times and High Country News. In Oregon, he has reported extensively on the rise of oil trains, Portland’s toxic air problems and lead contamination in National Guard armories.


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