Old School Campaign Finance

Chris Smith

For those who wonder about the value of Voter Owned Elections, here's an object lession. C&E (Contribution and Expenditure) reports were due today, and Ginny Burdick's make interesting reading. Ginny has raised $87,144.06 for her Council campaign to date (she also transferred about $13K from her Senate campaign account).

Since Ginny won't take taxpayer funds for her campaign, let's see whose money she is willing to take. Here are some of the "Friends of Ginny Burdick":

$10,000 contributors
    Comcast

$5,000 contributors
    Schnitzer Steel
    The Regence Group (formerly known as Blue Cross)
    Natural Gas PAC
    William Swindells

$2,500
    Russell Development Co.
    ESCO Corporation
    Tim Boyle
    Melvin Mark, Jr.

$2,000
    Smart Forest Ventures

$1,500
    Platt Electric Supply

$1,000
    Ted Halton
    Melvin Mark
    Emerson Hardwood Group
    Paul Lorenzini
    ORE-PAC
    Peter Stott

And Ginny gave herself $1787 dollars.

So that's more than $50,000 from folks who wrote checks of $1K or more, 59% percent of her total contributions. Not that Ginny has lost the common touch, there are plenty of $500 and $250 contributions as well (you know, from the little people, like Tom Imeson and the Trailblazers). The really common folks, those who could give $100 or less, amount to less than $10K of her total.

You may have noticed some similarities with the contributor list for the First Things First committee? That's not the only similarity: like FTF, Ginny has spent more than she raised. The committee is $29K in the hole at the moment. Odd, I might have expected a little more (money that is) from the Big Money Candidate.

Don't you wish we had more candidates like this, like we did in the good old days before Voter Owned Elections?

Comments

  • JH (unverified)
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    So as of right now, Ginny has less money than those who qualified for public funding?

    Though I don't expect that will last long, it is rather surprising.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)
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    More from the C & E ledgers:

    House 49:

    Karen Minnis raised $283K and has $144K to spend.

    Rob Brading raised $57K and has $11K to spend (not counting tonight's fund raiser).

    And don't look now, but Jeff Merkley (House 47) looks like he is now in the sights of a Republican targeted race. Jeff raised $63K but passed a lot of that on to FuturePAC. He has $17K left.

    His opponent was seeded with $20K from Minnis and Scott, and it looks like the R's are going after Merkely's seat with a vengence.

    Wow . . . a battle royale in 47-49 between FuturePAC and Majority 2006 . . .

    • Wes Charles
  • Sirajul (unverified)
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    Yes, darn it, after seeing Emilie Boyles' receipts, I wish she had not spent tens of thousands of dollars for salary for HER SIXTEEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER. Gee, that's far less corrupt than Burdick.

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    Chris,

    We have public reporting--I and every other watchdog can see who donated and how much they donated.

    We have public records of lobbying thanks to Cmmr. Sam.

    And we can monitor city council hearings and decisions.

    So what's the problem? You imply that the very fact that Burdick (or any other candidate) receives the bulk of their funding from wealthy contributors in an of itself means their campaign is somehow tainted.

    Why? Educating the public is a difficult and costly affair. Surely we wouldn't want poorly funded candidates and and ill-educated citizenry, would we?

    I'm trying to figure out why your broadside against civically minded wealthy citizens is any more coherent than Jack Bog's broadside against incompetent and corrupt VOE candidates.

    Why is the alternative better? Why will it produce more representative and responsive government and different and better policy outcomes?

  • (Show?)

    Gee, that's far less corrupt than Burdick.

    Sirajul, the difference is that if her daughter didn't actually do any work for the $12,500 that she was paid for - then that payment is ALREADY AGAINST THE LAW.

  • (Show?)

    Folks, I'm going to point y'all to my testimony in front of city council on this.

    In brief, I argued that it's not about the corruption - but rather the TIME impact of fundraising on our politics, and more importantly, on our elected officials.

    In short, by spending 1/10 of 1% of the city budget, we win back the time of our elected officials (who won't spend it raising money) and ensure that our candidates spend their time meeting voters, not raising money.

  • Steve (unverified)
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    "ensure that our candidates spend their time meeting voters, not raising money."

    Come on, how much more time has Erik spent in front of voters becuase of this? That is really stretching anyone's credulity and naivete. Maybe you could back it with Erik's latest schedule to meet actual voters, NOT just the "Friends of Erik" hug-fests?

  • (Show?)

    Why is the alternative better? Why will it produce more representative and responsive government and different and better policy outcomes?

    Paul, how can it be healthy that 17 people/companies provide the bulk of funds for a candidate. How does that candidate have any connection to the people he/she is supposed to represent after that?

  • John Ray (unverified)
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    At least, unlike Erik $ten, neither Burdick or Lister is spending my money without my permission.

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    Come on, how much more time has Erik spent in front of voters becuase of this?

    Actually, Erik has spent hundreds and hundreds more hours doing his job at the city council.

    Might make for an interesting investigation by a reporter sometime -- compare Erik's schedule over the last year to, say, Jim Francesconi's schedule in the last year before his election.

    As a campaign advisor to Erik, I'd wish he'd spend more time campaigning. As a citizen, I'm glad this financing system allows him to spend more time at City Hall.

  • (Show?)

    [Admin note: Looks like we're having some server trouble here in BlueOregon. Comments are working just fine, but the home page isn't getting updated - and the comments pulldown isn't updating either. We're on it.]

  • (Show?)

    John Ray sez: "At least, unlike Erik $ten, neither Burdick or Lister is spending my money without my permission."

    ...until they were to get into office, of course. Then it's payback time for the Schnitzers and the Goodmans and the Comcasts.

  • Jonathan (unverified)
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    "At least, unlike Erik Sten, neither Burdick or Lister is spending my money without my permission."

    Unless you really love the over-referendumed state that we're slowly becoming, NO expenditure of taxpayer money is made with the taxpayer's permission. Thank God there are still a few politicians out there who do what they think is right, without cowering in front of every poll or bombastic pundit.

    <h2>Comm'r Sten is accountable for how he spends his election funds, and if you don't like how he spent them, vote against him. But please don't base it on the stupid premise that public money is only spent if each voter gives permission for each expenditure.</h2>

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