Oregon Political Transparency is Breaking the Web

ORESTAR unable to disclose all donations and expenditures from PACs and candidates

The 2018 midterm election was expensive and exhausting. Just ask the Oregon Secretary of State’s campaign finance transparency website OreStar.

Eugene Weekly learned today from an official with the Oregon Secretary of State that the website, which was intended to be a transparent resource in a state without campaign contribution limits, reached its limit in disclosing contributions and expenditures in some high profile campaigns.

This means that the website will only show the 5,000 most recent contributions and expenditures. Take the campaigns of Gov. Kate Brown and former state Rep. Knute Buehler, for example. As of now, you can see Brown’s campaign finance activity only since Sept. 24. For Buehler, you can see transactions only since Oct. 17, 2018.

The 2018 gubernatorial race broke records in how much was raised and spent by the two candidates.

This poses a bigger problem for transparency from political action committees. Promote Oregon Leadership, a Republican PAC, has reported 13,000 items. It only discloses data from Dec. 4, 2013. On the other side of the aisle, Future PAC, House Builders has reported more than 12,000 items but the website can only show data from Dec. 26, 2013.

The Secretary of State is waiting on the Elections Division to see how to fix this problem, says Deb Royal, the office’s chief of staff and communications director.