A Freedom Foundation complaint alleging violations of state election laws by a union-backed political action committee calling itself “Our Oregon” has been referred to the Oregon Department of Justice, indicating the investigation has turned criminal.
The complaint, originally filed with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office, extensively documents Our Oregon’s unregistered political activity and alleges many of the group’s donations from labor organizations qualify as “contributions in false name,” a Class-C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine.
It’s unclear which specific allegations the DOJ is investigating, but the Secretary of State’s Election Division confirmed on Wednesday the complaint had been referred to the DOJ, a step required under Oregon law when investigators believe a criminal violation has occurred.
“This action by the Secretary of State is a clear indication that Our Oregon’s activity may indeed be criminal,” said Jason Dudash, the Freedom Foundation’s Oregon director. “Oregon’s election transparency statutes are clear. If you want to play in politics, you need to transparently report contributions you receive, and you can’t deceive voters about where campaign money really comes from.”