By now, you've almost certainly seen the latest ad from the Oregonians Against Off-Reservation Casinos that attacks Governor Ted Kulongoski and supports Jim Hill for Governor. (See the ad here.)
Who is this broad-based coalition of Oregonians who oppose off-reservation casinos?
Actually, it's not a broad-based coalition at all. There are only two contributions to this political committee. The first, for $410,000 on 3/22, was from the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde. The second, for $205,000 on 4/25, was from.... you guessed it: the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde.
All but two grand of the $615,000 was delivered to the ad buying service Multi Media Services Corporation in Alexandria, Virginia. Most of the money they received went to our local TV stations, while about $25,000 went to Mercury Public Affairs - a political consulting company in New York City. (Presumably, to develop and shoot the ad spot.)
So, who are these out-of-state firms producing ads supporting Jim Hill for Governor? Mercury is a prominent right-wing media firm. Roll Call even called its founder, Kieran Mahoney, "a protégé of the legendary bare-knuckles GOP consultant Arthur Finkelstein — and the son of one of the founders of the Conservative Party." On his bio, Mahoney lists Gordon Smith first among his clients - even ahead of Bob and Liddy Dole, Governor Pataki, and Senator Alfonse D'Amato.
So, there you have it. Gordon Smith's media firm is behind these strange pro-Jim Hill ads. Not only that, but his his long-time political consultant -- Dan Lavey -- is the guy pulling the strings for the Grande Ronde tribe.
Here's my questions: Why does Gordon Smith's political team want to boost Jim Hill? Why are they getting involved in the Democratic race for governor? What do they have to gain?
And, most of all, why hasn't Jim Hill demanded that these right-wing Republicans get out of our party's primary?
[Disclaimer: I built TedForGov.com, but I don't speak for the governor or his campaign.]