If you thought a well-respected group like the League of Women Voters of Oregon would get a free pass from Rogue consideration, think again. The League earns dishonors by saying in its Oregon Voters' Pamphlet statement on Measure 39 that the measure was "mostly paid for by out-of-state lobbying interests."
The measure's sponsor, Oregonians in Action president David Hunnicutt, disputed that claim during a recent endorsement interview with WW on the proposal, which would put limits on property condemnation. Turns out he was right that the League, which you'd think would be a more careful advocate for its political stances, was wrong.
When the League wrote its statement, fundraising reports showed that 14 percent of Measure 39's money was out-of-state and 86 percent from Oregon. Even if you accept the League's argument that a $52,000 loan from the Oregon Family Farm Association should be considered out-of-state because the association received $100,000 from Nevadan Loren Parks, the percentage of out-of-state money would still be 33 percent. (The latest fundraising reports filed Monday show only $12,000 more was raised, all of it from Oregon.)
League president Margaret Noel says the "mostly" statement was based on media reports, statements from other Measure 39 opponents and fundraising reports. Noel now says she no longer considers "mostly" accurate, and that the League regrets the error.
Noel considers it accurate to say the measure is funded "largely" by out-of-state interests and called the Elections Division on Monday to see whether the word could be changed. The Elections Division says a correction isn't possible since the Voters' Pamphlet is already being printed in preparation for mailing next week.
The Secretary of State's Office doesn't endorse the accuracy of measure arguments in the Voters' Pamphlet. A complaint would have to be filed as a private lawsuit, and the plaintiff must prove a false claim was made "knowingly or with reckless disregard." Oregonians in Action has considered that step but is leaning against it. "The world has enough lawsuits," Hunnicutt says.