Ballot initiative-king Bill Sizemore is running
for the 2010 GOP gubernatorial nomination in Oregon. But Multnomah County Judge Janice Wilson's ruling
forbidding him from raising or spending money for political purposes has hamstrung his campaign.
But in a motion
[PDF] he filed today in Multnomah County Court, Sizemore is aiming to leverage a federal ruling last week to free himself from Wilson's order. That ruling came on Jan. 21 when the U.S. Supreme Court decided
in a 5-4 vote that campaign finance limits on independent expenditures in candidate elections are unconstitutional. The effect of the ruling is that corporations and groups can now pour as much money as they want into independent ads for or against a candidate.
That ruling will have greater impact in states other than Oregon because Oregon is one of only six states that do not currently limit campaign expenditures. But Sizemore — who was the Republican gubernatorial candidate in 1998 — hopes the Supremes' sweeping away of limits on political spending will free him from Judge Wilson's shackles. Here's how, according to Sizemore:
Ironically, this week the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, effectively removing the restrictions on political spending by unions and corporations, even in federal candidate races. This historic decision expressly extended these new freedoms to nonprofits. The essence of this historic decision is that regardless of corporate structure, the First Amendment right to speak is inviolate. (This recent, far reaching decision may alter the court's thinking in regard to ATRF and Contempt IV, but that is an issue for another day.) It is more than a little ironic that now corporations, including nonprofits, can spend any amount they wish supporting a candidate or measure; unions can now spend as much on politics as they wish; wealthy people can spend as much as they wish; and apparently even foreigners can spend freely on American politics, if they wish. There is only one person in the United States who cannot spend money on politics, Bill Sizemore. Under this court's order, Bill Sizemore cannot spend any money whatsoever on politics.