Tuesday June 19, 2018
SNc Channels:

Search
About Salem-News.com

 

Jul-27-2010 22:11printcomments

Oregon Transparency Project: Political Contributions

On the individual contribution side, the big spenders are fronting their own campaigns or the campaigns of their family members.

Magnifiying glass
Courtesy: State of Oregon

(EUGENE, Ore.) - The Oregon Transparency Project has expanded to include Political Contributions. All transactions listed in the ORESTAR database from January 1, 2009 through July 27, 2010 are currently listed. This data will be update frequently.

The Oregon Transparency Project offers concerned citizens a much easier to use and more informative method for browsing through this data. It is possible to browse through contributors and political committees by the amounts paid and received, and then quickly drill down to find all of the relevant transaction details.

I will be working, as I have time, to improve the interface for accessing this information, and adding additional analytical tools.

A brief review of the data reveals that corporations are leading the way with $15.4 million in contributions, followed by individuals with $10 million, and labor organizations with $8.1 million.

Interestingly, there are $8 million dollars in contributions reported as “MISCELLANEOUS CASH CONTRIBUTIONS $100 AND UNDER,” which means that the source is not reported. This represents about 15% of total contributions.

What is more interesting is that the average amount of these contributions is $407.26, with some ranging up to several thousand dollars.

Other matters of note include the $1.3 million dollars funneled by Clairvest Group Inc., a Canadian investment bank, to the front organization “Good for Oregon”( goodfororegon.org) in order to get two measures on the ballot to allow a casino to be built in Portland.

In an Orwellian naming contest, a foreign bank trying to build a casino in order to rip off our citizens and calling their political committee “Good for Oregon,” would probably take the prize.

As far as corporate shell games and initiative petitions go, the Ross Day fronted “Defend your Castle Committee,” which is pushing Petition 63, has received all of its “In Kind” funding from two corporations controlled by Ross Day, along with a bit from Kevin Mannix.

Political disclosure gets a lot simpler when all of your contributions come from corporations you control, which of course do not have to reveal the sources of their funding.

Top corporate contributors are, unsurprisingly, those that are either major recipients of government contracts or operators of government sanctioned monopolies.

The energy companies PGE and NW Natural, both operators of government sanctioned monopolies whose profits depend on the mood of State regulators, are at the top of the list.

Blue Cross Blue Shield, recipient of $280 million dollars in tax payer money last year, is number three among corporate contributors, with $160,000 in contributions.

Stimson Lumber Company, which donated $75,000 to fighting last year’s tax increase measures, is a top contributor to Chris Dudley with $50,000 on the table to back him to date.

Other top Dudley backers include S & G Properties ($112,000), Austin Industries ($100,000), Phil Knight ($100,000), Daniel Fegan ($100,000), Steve Shepard ($60,353), Lawrence Wilson ($50,000), Oregon Health Care Association ($50,000), Greg Roderick ($28,550), American Industries ($25,000), Don Harmon ($23,000), Peter Brix ($21,000), and Natural Gas Pac ($10,000) [I guess someone wants their pipeline].

Asset Recovery Group has spent $26,035, primarily to the “Professional Adjusters Interested In Democracy” committee, a front for collection agencies. Click Here for a list of politicians financing their campaigns with money from legalized loan sharks.

On the labor side, the Oregon Education Association is the grand champion in organized political spending. They have dropped over $2 million dollars into the political process. The SEIU has spent more than the OEA in total, although it is split up between different official entities.

On the individual contribution side, the big spenders are fronting their own campaigns or the campaigns of their family members. The other big money people are mostly lawyers and doctors (no great surprise there).

This is only a cursory review of the information available, and there will be more to come in the future.

In order to really make sense of this volume of data, serious depth analysis is required, which traces back payments through various committees and corporations to the ultimate contributor.

I will also be conducting a thorough statistical analysis of the links between State spending on private sector contracts and political contributions.

Meanwhile, if anyone would like to get back to me on why the anonymous contributions under $100 actually average out to over $400, I would certainly be interested to know.


Salem-News.com Business/Economy Reporter Ersun Warncke is a native Oregonian. He has a degree in Economics from Portland State University and studied Law at University of Oregon. At a young age, his career spans a wide variety of fields, from fast food, to union labor, to computer programming. He has published works concerning economics, business, government, and media on blogs for several years. He currently works as an independent software designer specializing in web based applications, open source software, and peer-to-peer (P2P) applications.

Ersun describes his writing as being "in the language of the boardroom from the perspective of the shop floor." He adds that "he has no education in journalism other than reading Hunter S. Thompson." But along with life comes the real experience that indeed creates quality writers. Right now, every detail that can help the general public get ahead in life financially, is of paramount importance.

You can write to Ersun at: warncke@comcast.net




Comments Leave a comment on this story.
Name:

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.



Hank Ruari July 29, 2010 8:48 pm (Pacific time)

To all: Never. ever, underestimate the potent power of the poor-in-dollars but massive in multiplication of total votes, all of which count. That's major momentous message of the Obama campaign and carries overtones of more menace now for GOP meanly manipulating the tea-pot,which may well have more danger to scald than they can contemplate. That;s WHY factual face of fancy-givers, as exposed by transparency, may be fearful consequence when considered calmly, cozily and in powerful considerable detail. Quid-for-quo, seen in full advance, may be most muscular tool we can turn to, now...and amounts announced in advance, with names and numbers in full detail,may amount (no pun!) to purchase-provision so clear, if not clean, as to end it for one or the other...


Hank Ruark July 29, 2010 10:23 am (Pacific time)

Ersun et al:
  Once again we see why John Dewey, great philsopher and teacher, declared conversation as "the heart of democracy."

  My casual comment re power of bouncing/ball somehow here provided powerful political insights, opening up precisely the needed depth and desperate impacts of dialog on our soon-arriving key-choice of a leader to lead Oregon into thr 2st Century.

   AND "that ain't no game", friends !!
   SO --to make sure it ain't, and cannot be (easily) fixed, transparency becomes much more than "the name of this game."

  Which emphasizes again, and rightly so, the very large contribution made by any solid system for fully illuminating the sources of that fuel we all know "makes it go !" --the money that matters most.

   AND, via the system, WHO supplies HOW MUCH, WHEN and to WHOM...


Ersun Warncke July 28, 2010 1:10 pm (Pacific time)

Hank, the bouncing basketball is of course not a major indicator of governance skills, but I would not discount Dudley on that basis alone.  It should be taken into account that Dudley's constituency is basically a few dozen (at most) high net worth individuals, while Kitzhaber is representing hundreds of thousands of individuals who make up the core workforce of the State (this itself posses potential problems of another kind, which others have highlighted in such extensive depth and detail that I need not devote much time to rehashing).  Aside from friends in the athletic world, Dudley's supporters seem to be a rogue's gallery of "investment" and "development" types, which does not bode well.  Dudley's positions on "modernizing" land use planning (i.e. pillaging the land for private profit) are reflective of his supporters, and deeply contrary to the long term interests of our State.  Health care is a major area where Dudley has essentially no plan, while Kitzhaber has demonstrated understanding of the basic challenges and necessary policy changes for real reform, and he has the trust and support of the medical community, which is essential for real reform.  Serious health care reform would save far more in the State budget than further reneging on past PERS promises, and so on this count I would guess that Kitzhaber has the best chance of making changes that would actually address long term budget, tax, and economic problems.  As to negotiations with unions, which Dudley cites his experience in (on the other side of the table, and negotiating for multi-million salaries it should be noted), I simply reject this idea that the unions are purely "in it for themselves."  Teachers, police, firefighters, etc, are of course demonstrating commitment to public service on a daily basis.  Only in the looney toon land of Republican propaganda are they both lauded as courageous public servants and then dismissed in the same breath as money grubbing thieves.  These unions have shown time and again a willingness to accept compromises that reduce their compensation if there is an honest negotiation and a clear public benefit to be derived therefrom.  Cutting the retirement benefits of public servants in order to reduce capital gains taxes for wealthy speculators is obviously not a public benefit.  Politicians who push such proposals only increase the adversarial climate between the State bureaucracy and the front line workers who provide crucial public services, which makes it more difficult and expensive to get these jobs done.


Ersun Warncke July 29, 2010 12:19 pm (Pacific time)

A note on the "Misc Cash Under $100:" These small contributions are reported in aggregate amounts, so $10,000 may reflect 200 small donations reported together. Thank you to the people who emailed me to explain this.


Hank Ruark July 29, 2010 10:24 am (Pacific time)

Ersun et al: Once again we see why John Dewey, great philsopher and teacher, declared conversation as "the heart of democracy." My casual comment re power of bouncing/ball somehow here provided powerful political insights, opening up precisely the needed depth and desperate impacts of dialog on our soon-arriving key-choice of a leader to lead Oregon into thr 2st Century. AND "that ain't no game", friends !! SO --to make sure it ain't, and cannot be (easily) fixed, transparency becomes much more than "the name of this game." Which emphasizes again, and rightly so, the very large contribution made by any solid system for fully illuminating the sources of that fuel we all know "makes it go !" --the money that matters most. AND, via the system, WHO supplies HOW MUCH, WHEN and to WHOM...


Ersun Warncke July 28, 2010 1:14 pm (Pacific time)

Hank, the bouncing basketball is of course not a major indicator of governance skills, but I would not discount Dudley on that basis alone. It should be taken into account that Dudley's constituency is basically a few dozen (at most) high net worth individuals, while Kitzhaber is representing hundreds of thousands of individuals who make up the core workforce of the State (this itself posses potential problems of another kind, which others have highlighted in such extensive depth and detail that I need not devote much time to rehashing). Aside from friends in the athletic world, Dudley's supporters seem to be a rogue's gallery of "investment" and "development" types, which does not bode well. Dudley's positions on "modernizing" land use planning (i.e. pillaging the land for private profit) are reflective of his supporters, and deeply contrary to the long term interests of our State. Health care is a major area where Dudley has essentially no plan, while Kitzhaber has demonstrated understanding of the basic challenges and necessary policy changes for real reform, and he has the trust and support of the medical community, which is essential for real reform. Serious health care reform would save far more in the State budget than further reneging on past PERS promises, and so on this count I would guess that Kitzhaber has the best chance of making changes that would actually address long term budget, tax, and economic problems. As to negotiations with unions, which Dudley cites his experience in (on the other side of the table, and negotiating for multi-million salaries it should be noted), I simply reject this idea that the unions are purely "in it for themselves." Teachers, police, firefighters, etc, are of course demonstrating commitment to public service on a daily basis. Only in the looney toon land of Republican propaganda are they both lauded as courageous public servants and then dismissed in the same breath as money grubbing thieves. These unions have shown time and again a willingness to accept compromises that reduce their compensation if there is an honest negotiation and a clear public benefit to be derived therefrom. Cutting the retirement benefits of public servants in order to reduce capital gains taxes for wealthy speculators is obviously not a public benefit. Politicians who push such proposals only increase the adversarial climate between the State bureaucracy and the front line workers who provide crucial public services, which makes it more difficult and expensive to get these jobs done.


Hank Ruark July 28, 2010 11:53 am (Pacific time)

Friend Ersun: Thank you for your solid personal-professional effort to carry still further what's becoming a national trend: Concerned citizens seeking much more meaningful essential information inevitably shaping the democratic process. That trend --obvious to all who surveil D.C. dirty doings, noting WHO is doing WHAT to WHOM-- is coming home to each State Legislature and its own workings,not one day too-soon. Specific, precise, skilled data/analysis beats the hell out of constant cavil and its futile failing: Seeking huge attitudinal changes in the electorate far beyond what's psychologically possible, much less probable. BUT here we get to see what dollars were dropped from whom and where they went --key info for shaping our own decisions, knowing only too well those already negative-historied on the public record, and with ID now possible those opened to full survey and needed further surveillance. Honest, open, democratic contributions, clearly,cleanly on-the-record, surely beat out any covert control cannily contrived otherwise !! Cannot refrain from open, honest observation: Bouncing a basketball does nothing to prepare one for beating out a beneficent state-level budget.

[Return to Top]
©2018 Salem-News.com. All opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Salem-News.com.


Articles for July 26, 2010 | Articles for July 27, 2010 | Articles for July 28, 2010
The NAACP of the Willamette Valley

EVR Premium Hemp Oil ...LIVE YOUR LIFE

Tribute to Palestine and to the incredible courage, determination and struggle of the Palestinian People. ~Dom Martin



Since 1985, Tattoo Mike is one of the most reputable tattoo artists in Oregon.

Your customers are looking: Advertise on Salem-News.com!