Multnomah County's political spending limits ruled unconstitutional

Judge Eric Bloch ruled Tuesday that the county and its voters cannot cap campaign contributions to candidates for county office at $500 per donor.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A county judge has ruled that Multnomah County's voter-approved limits on campaign contributions are an unconstitutional infringement on free speech.

The Oregonian reports Judge Eric Bloch ruled Tuesday that the county and its voters cannot cap campaign contributions to candidates for county office at $500 per donor.

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He ruled they also cannot force disclosure of the largest contributors to political mailers, or limit other types of spending. The limits are "impermissible" under the free speech guarantees within the Oregon Constitution, Bloch wrote, citing a related Oregon Supreme Court opinion.

His ruling falls in line with earlier decisions by the state high court that tossed out limits on political spending as unconstitutional.

Multnomah County voters adopted the spending limits with an 89 percent "yes" vote in November 2016.

Dan Meek, an attorney representing supporters of the spending limits, said they will appeal Bloch's decision.