2017 ORS 260.345¹
Complaints or other information regarding violations
  • action by Secretary of State and Attorney General

(1) Any elector may file with any filing officer a written complaint alleging that a violation of an election law or rule adopted by the Secretary of State under ORS chapters 246 to 260 has occurred and stating the reason for believing that the violation occurred and any evidence relating to it. A complaint and any evidence relating to it may be filed electronically. A complaint alleging a violation involving the Secretary of State, a candidate for the office of Secretary of State, or any political committee or person supporting the Secretary of State or a candidate for the office of Secretary of State may be filed with the Attorney General. The Secretary of State or Attorney General shall not accept an anonymous complaint.

(2) The Secretary of State by rule shall prescribe the procedure for processing a complaint filed with any person other than the Secretary of State. If the complaint concerns the Secretary of State, any candidate for the office of the Secretary of State, or any political committee or person supporting the candidacy of the Secretary of State or of another person for the office of Secretary of State, the complaint and any additional information relating to the complaint shall be sent to the Attorney General.

(3) Upon receipt of a complaint under subsection (1) or (2) of this section the Secretary of State or Attorney General immediately shall examine the complaint to determine whether a violation of an election law or rule has occurred and shall make any investigation the Secretary of State or Attorney General considers necessary. Except as provided in this subsection, within 48 hours of receiving a complaint under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, the Secretary of State or Attorney General shall notify the person who is the subject of the complaint that a complaint has been received. If the Secretary of State or Attorney General receives a complaint or complaints involving 25 or more individuals, political committees or petition committees in any 24-hour period, the Secretary of State or Attorney General need not notify the persons who are the subjects of those complaints within 48 hours of receiving the complaints but shall notify those persons not later than 10 business days after receiving the complaint or complaints.

(4) If the Secretary of State believes after an investigation under subsection (3) of this section that a violation of an election law or rule has occurred, the secretary:

(a) In the case of a violation that is subject to a penalty under ORS 260.993 (Criminal penalties), immediately shall report the findings to the Attorney General and request prosecution. If the violation involves the Attorney General, a candidate for that office or a political committee or person supporting or opposing the Attorney General or a candidate for that office, the Secretary of State shall appoint another prosecutor for that purpose; or

(b) In the case of a violation not subject to a penalty under ORS 260.993 (Criminal penalties), may impose a civil penalty under ORS 260.995 (Civil penalties).

(5) Upon receipt of a complaint or report under subsection (1), (2) or (4) of this section involving an alleged violation subject to a penalty under ORS 260.993 (Criminal penalties), the Attorney General or other prosecutor immediately shall examine the complaint or report to determine whether a violation of an election law has occurred. If the Attorney General or prosecutor determines that a violation has occurred, the Attorney General or prosecutor immediately shall begin prosecution in the name of the state. The Attorney General or other prosecutor shall have the same powers in any county of this state as the district attorney for the county.

(6) Upon receipt of a complaint under subsection (1) or (2) of this section involving an alleged violation of an election law or rule not subject to a penalty under ORS 260.993 (Criminal penalties), the Attorney General shall examine the complaint to determine whether a violation of an election law or rule has occurred and shall make any investigation the Attorney General considers necessary. If the Attorney General believes after an investigation that a violation of an election law or rule has occurred, the Attorney General may impose a civil penalty under ORS 260.995 (Civil penalties).

(7) In the case of an alleged violation subject to a civil penalty under ORS 260.995 (Civil penalties), a complaint shall be filed by an elector under this section no later than 90 days following the election at which a violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, or 90 days following the date the violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, whichever is later.

(8) A filing officer having reason to believe that a violation of an election law or rule has occurred shall proceed promptly as though the officer had received a complaint. Except as provided in ORS 260.234 (Notice of civil penalty), a filing officer shall proceed under this subsection no later than two years following the election at which a violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, or two years following the date the violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, whichever is later. If a filing officer has not proceeded within two years because of fraud, deceit, misleading representation or the filing officer could not have reasonably discovered the alleged violation, the filing officer shall proceed no later than five years following the election at which a violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, or five years following the date the violation of an election law or rule is alleged to have occurred, whichever is later. [Formerly 260.105; 1973 c.744 §24; 1979 c.190 §365; 1987 c.718 §2; 1987 c.727 §9; 1989 c.171 §35; 1989 c.301 §1; 1989 c.571 §2; 1991 c.719 §32; 1993 c.493 §81; 2009 c.818 §23; 2011 c.607 §14]

Notes of Decisions

Although ORS 260.200 (Secretary of State rules for accounts, forms, material to be retained and material not subject to disclosure) et seq. deal specifically with contribu­tion and expenditure reporting require­ments, ORS 260.345 (Complaints or other information regarding violations) also covers viola­tions of those require­ments. Gold v. Secretary of State, 106 Or App 573, 809 P2d 1334 (1991)

Chapter 260

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Applica­tion to committee collecting contribu­tions to es­tab­lish fund to defray elected official’s expenses incurred in performing po­lit­i­cal func­tions of office, (1980) Vol 40, p 11; preemp­tion by federal law of campaign financing with respect to federal candidates, (1981) Vol 41, p 420

Law Review Cita­tions

50 OLR 299-321 (1971); 55 OLR 253-266 (1976)

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 260—Campaign Finance Regulation; Election Offenses, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors260.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 260, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano260.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.