Measures: Some get big bucks, some don’t

SALEM – Oregon’s slate of ballot-measure campaigns are falling into two camps – the haves and the have-nots – when it comes to campaign contributions, according to Monday’s financial disclosures.

Of the 10 measures on the Nov. 7 ballot, five of them accounted for 94 percent of the $8.5 million in combined contributions reported between June 6 and Sept. 21. The biggest draws were also the most lopsided contests.

The insurance industry nationwide pooled $3.74 million for its high-profile, TV-dominated campaign to defeat Measure 42, which would ban the industry from using credit scores to set premiums. The campaign pushing the measure did not report any financial activity.

It wasn’t the only case in which one side’s campaign cash dwarfed the other’s. In the combined effort to defeat both Measure 41, a $400 million-a-year tax cut, and Measure 48, a spending limit similar to the one passed in Colorado but recently suspended, the group Defend Oregon reported contributions of $1.9 million from unions, corporations and other organizations. The campaign to pass the tax cut, led by an Oregon branch of the Washington, D.C.-based FreedomWorks, reported contributions of $13,825. The group trying to pass the spending cap raised $131,907 for its so-called Rainyday Amendment campaign.

Another one-sided race for money appeared among the campaigns over the term-limits initiative, Measure 45. The pro group reported $1.25 million, thanks to the contribution of that amount it received from a group led by New York investor and conservative activist Howard Rich. A few lobbying groups and unions kicked in $85,440 to fight the measure, which would cap the number of terms that could be served in the Legislature.

The only other initiative to draw money approaching the million-dollar mark was Measure 43, which would require doctors to notify parents before providing an abortion to a teenager. The campaign to defeat the measure collected $706,124 while the pro-side reported raising $207,030.

The other measures, which would require statewide judges to be elected by geographic boundaries, allow uninsured Oregonians to buy discounted drugs through a state purchasing pool, limit campaign contributions, and ban the condemnation of private land if it’s being transferred to a developer, accounted for a combined $485,552, or 6 percent of the total raised for this fall’s initiative campaigns.