Money and Politics – ORESTAR Reveals Candidate Funding Sources – Tillamook County Pioneer

By Jim Heffernan
I still think about how money has corrupted our political life. Perhaps a closer look at the details might provide an explanation for the mess we find ourselves in.
I recently discovered a wonderful thing called ORESTAR.*
I don’t know how it is in other states, but Oregon is strict about political campaigns reporting their contributions and expenses. In addition, ORESTAR identifies external contributions.
` Even better, ORESTAR reports are easily converted into spreadsheets. The magic of spreadsheets reveals things about candidates that get lost if you get stuck just reading the list published by ORESTAR.
Comparing the candidates is very revealing.

Suzanne Weber received 57 contributions from out of state. 274 of his 752 contributions exceed $1,000. I think it’s a bit strange that people like Koch Brothers, Kroger, Amazon, ATT, Eli Lily and Anheuser-Busch are interested in SD16 and willing to invest thousands of dollars in Suzanne. The Koch brothers donated $14,500 to Suzanne. I don’t think out-of-state contributions are meant to benefit those of us who live here. Suzanne’s total contributions are $933,233.72.
Melissa Busch received 14 contributions from out of state. With the exception of a single contribution from Northwest Carpenters, they all appear to be individuals. I’m pretty sure his outside contributions mostly come from his family and friends. Big companies apparently don’t see Melissa as a worthwhile investment. 40 of Melissa’s 445 contributions are over $1,000. Melissa’s largest contribution comes from the Oregon Nurses PAC which contributed $55,000. Melissa’s total contribution is $193,924.64.
The differences are just as striking for HD16.
Cyrus Javadi raised $202,230.96. 25 of its 195 contributions come from out of state. 57 of his 195 contributions exceed $1,000. The Koch brothers invested $8,000. Kroger, Anheuser-Busch, Bristol-Meyers-Squibb, and Novartis also thought HD32 might be a worthwhile investment. Cyrus’ biggest contributor was a PAC known as “Bring Balance to Salem,” who invested $55,000 in Cyrus.
“Bring Balance to Salem” could best be described as “Phil iKnght and his band of rich pals”. Phil contributed $2,000,000 to the PAC and 185 of his friends added another $680,000.
Logan Laity, raised $43,615.68. Only 2 of his donations are from out of state and those 2 total $250. Logan’s biggest contributor was the Electricians Union 48. Electricians paid Logan $10,000. 5 of Logan’s 146 contributions have been over $1,000.
I don’t really know why I worry so much about the money. Regardless of the financial situation, I could never vote for a candidate in favor of “forced pregnancy”.
Still, it makes me uncomfortable to see Republican candidates outspending Democratic candidates by a 5-to-1 margin, largely supported by money from out of state. I’d like to think the North Oregon Coast isn’t for sale.
I vote for Melissa and Logan and hope you do too. They are exactly what we need in Salem – fresh young minds who are not swayed by outside contributions.
Also, I so wish I had November and the satisfaction of knowing that the Koch brothers spent $22,500 on SD16s and HD32s for nothing.
My figures are based on the ORESTAR lists of October 14, 2022.
As always, I’m still thinking and evolving. If you would like to speak to me from my point of view, do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected]


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