Kevin Mannix has paid off $347,000 in outstanding debts from his previous runs for office, but the move has raised more questions than it answered.
From the Oregonian:
For years, Republican Kevin Mannix has owed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign debts while waging what turned out to be three failed races for statewide office.
Now, just weeks after planning to run for Congress, Mannix has swiftly paid off $347,000 in debts with loans from his Salem law firm.
Mannix, who is running for the congressional seat left open by the surprise retirement of Rep. Darlene Hooley, D-Ore, was able to pay off his creditors by "calling in the accounts receivables" from his solo law practice, according to his campaign manager.
The source of the money used to pay off Mannix's debt remains unknown:
[Amy] Langdon did not disclose where the money came from to pay off the large debt, citing confidentiality between Mannix and his legal clients. Mannix declined to be interviewed about his campaign finances.
One big source of legal work for Mannix has been FreedomWorks, the Washington, D.C.-based group that seeks lower taxes and less government regulation. The group reported paying Mannix $540,000 in legal and consulting fees from 2004 through 2006. The group's 2007 report has not been filed.
Langdon said none of the law-firm money came from Loren Parks, the wealthy Nevada businessman who has donated more than $1.5 million over the years to Mannix's assorted campaigns, ballot measures and other causes.
Despite Langdon's expertise with debt, the timing and lack of transparency of the move is being questioned by a number of groups:
Janice Thompson, executive director of Democracy Reform Oregon, a campaign watchdog group, questioned why Mannix did not pay off his creditors earlier if he had the ability to do so.
"I think it raises questions about the full transparency of the source of the money," she said.
Cary Evans, a spokesman for one of Mannix's political rivals, Mike Erickson, said his campaign finances could be an issue in the upcoming primary campaign.
"He has been in a number of campaigns with large loans from specific individuals and then borrowed from one place or another to pay them back or not pay them back," Evans said. "Honestly, this is probably the same kind of scheme, if you ask me. And while it may be legal, it sure puts a lot of question onto who those individuals are who are funding him."
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