The state Elections Division on Monday said it will fine a National Rifle Association political committee more than $8,000 for the tardy reporting of a $25,700 donation to the campaign opposing Oregon’s Measure 114 gun control ballot proposal.
The NRA Oregonians for Freedom committee received the contribution from the NRA Political Victory Fund out of Fairfax, Virginia, on July 29, but didn’t report it until Nov. 1 — far beyond the 30-day deadline.
It is the only contribution the Oregon political committee, which was founded in July, has reported receiving.
Measure 114 would require gun buyers to obtain a permit and complete a background check before purchases.
Though the Elections Division hasn’t received a complaint about the delay, it learned of the late reporting and will “automatically issue a penalty” to the Oregon committee, said Ben Morris, a spokesperson for Secretary of State Shemia Fagan. The Elections Division is part of the Secretary of State’s Office.
The fine is 0.5% of the contribution amount for each day the contribution went unreported after the deadline – a total of more than $8,200 for 64 days.
Leaders of the campaign in favor of Measure 114 identified the problem on Saturday and put out a press release about the late filing.
“It’s a shame that Oregon voters have been deceived by those fighting against the historic Measure 114 campaign to save lives and reduce gun violence,” the Rev. Mark Knutson, pastor of the Augustana Lutheran Church, said in the news release. He’s one of the measure’s chief petitioners.
Under state law, if money is used to support or oppose a measure, it must be reported within 30 days of the payment or, if the contribution is made after Sept. 27, within seven days.
Rick Coufal, legislative director of the Oregon State Shooting Association and treasurer of NRA Oregonians for Freedom, declined comment other than saying, “You’ve got to talk to the NRA about that, that was their issue.’’
Neither Christina M. Majors, fiscal officer for the National Rifle Association of America in Fairfax, nor Emily Inskeep, another NRA representative in Fairfax, immediately responded to messages seeking comment.
Proponents of the gun control measure have raised $2.4 million during the campaign, with Connie Ballmer, a Seattle philanthropist and University of Oregon alumna, the top contributor, donating $750,000. Ballmer is married to billionaire Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft and current owner of the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team.
Opponents raised a fraction of that, at just over $200,000 with about $98,600 contributed to the Oregon Sportsmen Opposed to Gun Violence PAC, $74,900 contributed to the Stop 114 Committee and the national NRA contribution to NRA Oregonians for Freedom.
— Maxine Bernstein
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