Secretary of State Kate Brown is now reporting spending more than $1 million in her bid for re-election—officially going over the line she promised in September she wouldn't break.
Today's filings show that she's spent $1.08 million, to be exact. Spending on her behalf by a political action committee targeting her Republican opponent, Dr. Knute Buehler, counts as an in-kind contribution to her campaign, and that has put Brown, a Democrat, over her self-imposed limit.
Brown spokeswoman Jillian Schoene acknowledges Brown's total spending is over $1 million, but she says the candidate has no control over in-kind expenditures and never intended for them to count toward her spending cap.
"In-kinds aren't predictable and we don't control those dollars," Schoene says. "It is ridiculous to assume that we would try to limit something that is unpredictable."
But Brown didn't make that distinction explicit when she announced her self-imposed campaign spending limit Sept. 19.
"Oregonâs Secretary of State Kate Brown today announced that she will lead by example and commit to a voluntary $1 million spending limit in her reelection campaign â even though her opponent rejected the opportunity to join her in sending a clear signal that the time has come for Oregon to take action and reform its campaign finance laws," Brown's campaign said in a statement that day.
âThe only thing that has changed since Dr. Buehler first expressed support for getting the money out of politics is that heâs now running for office,â Brown said in her Sept. 19 statement. âHis double standard raises a legitimate question of whether Oregonians can trust anything he says.â