The Money Chase, April Update: Attorney General

Here's the latest look at the money chase for the Attorney General race.

Last month, Greg Macpherson led John Kroger by $193k. This month, his lead is down to $124k - on the strength of a stunning one-day total for Kroger on March 31 of $61,149 ($25k from OEA.)

Last month, Macpherson's daily pace (over 90 days) was $1832/day, while Kroger's was $1999/day. This month, Macpherson's daily pace is up slightly to $2081/day, and Kroger's jumped up to $3074/day.

Here's the box scores and the charts:

last updated3-31-20083-20-2008
2007 starting balance$0$125,501
current total$402,678$527,289
cash contributions472795
average contribution$808$472
daily pace (last 90)$3,074$2,081
daily pace (last 30)$4,121$1,980

Technical notes on the jump...

We retrieved this data from ORESTAR on April 1, 2008. Because campaigns can choose to delay their reporting up to 30 days, some recent data isn't available yet. The "daily pace" is based on the last 30 or 90 days for which we do have data. Our chart starts in July 2007 because most campaigns didn't raise money during the legislative session. The "average contribution" is based on actual cash contributions since January 1, 2007 - while the "current total" includes in-kind contributions, sold items, interest income, and the starting balance. Also, some campaigns lump together under-$100 contributions into a single line item - so the number of contributions may be slightly understated and the average contribution slightly overstated. In order to measure campaign strength, these numbers include the initial cash-on-hand on January 1, 2007 plus all funds raised since then.

Why not look at cash-on-hand? Because it doesn't lend itself to an apples-to-apples view. The goal is to provide a snapshot view that compares the financial strength of the statewide campaigns and legislative caucuses. Does a low cash-on-hand mean that a campaign is failing to raise money? Or does it mean that they're spending money on big-ticket items like polling, direct mail, and television? We assume that campaigns spend money in whatever way they think is most strategically smart. So, looking at the total funds raised since January 1, 2007 (plus the opening balance that day) is the best snapshot of overall financial strength.

  • ben rivers (unverified)

    My hunch is that once 7 day reporting begins, you won't see these kind of gains. It is easy to sit on money with 30 day reporting. It would be interesting to see when this money actually arrived into the campaign coffers.

  • Justin (unverified)

    Ben, It has gotten to the point that whenever a positive post goes up on the internet regarding the Kroger campaign, I wait 8 seconds and then see a post from you somehow discounting the importance of said post. Like clockwork.

  • (Show?)

    I know it's not what you're trying to compare here, but some of us might be interested in expenditure and cash on hand numbers. Is there someplace we can easily find that info? I tried ORESTAR and quickly got lost in reams of unrelated information (probably because I didn't know the terms for what I was trying to find). Anybody wanna give me a hand?

  • ben rivers (unverified)


    Kroger: Cash on hand: $233,241.47 Expenditures (2008): $116,056.37

    Macpherson: Cash on hand: $377,229.75 Expenditures (2008): $84,721.73

    Expenditures can be misleading. You need to dig deep into the C&Es to see what they are really spending their money on. Media, communications, staff costs and such.

    Hope this is helpful to anyone who wants to see it.

  • (Show?)

    When you input information into ORESTAR, you're still supposed to put the date you received the contribution. The 30 day reporting period has nothing to do with it. The 30 day reporting period is how many days after a contribution arrives that it has to be inputted into ORESTAR - date contribution received is still the date in which it was received.

    Many campaigns enter the information into ORESTAR regularly, as you have the option of saying that it shouldn't be public until the due date. This is a feature that people really seemed to like at the ORESTAR training I attended, as it meant you didn't have to dedicate a whole day (or more) just before the due date doing your C&Es. You can input them regularly (some may do daily, every few days, weekly, etc.) and just click the "file when due" option and you're all set.

  • (Show?)

    Thanks Ben. Looks like Mac has a significant cash advantage for the stretch run. If I've got some time this weekend, maybe I'll try and did a bit to find out where the money's been going. Could be interesting...

  • mlw (unverified)

    Hmm...maybe Mac will have a cash advantage for the stretch run because he's spent his entire career representing corporate interests in a big law firm practice while Kroger will have a disadvantage because he's worked in public service for his...just a thought, there.

  • DW (unverified)

    Too bad none of Kroger's "public service" was ever in Oregon.

  • ben rivers (unverified)


    Here is a quiz. Who's comment is more negative?

    Mine or mlw's?

  • Question (unverified)

    What accounts for Kroger's sudden increase of what appears to be more than $50,000 in one day?

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)

    Uh, MLW, Representative Macpherson is called that because he's served the public in the legislature. That's why we call it public service. Mr. Kroger's Oregon tenure has been teaching law students (future representatives of corporate interests), not public service. (And no, I don't consider precinct work for the party to be public service).

  • (Show?)

    DW: Too bad none of Kroger's "public service" was ever in Oregon.

    Except for prosecuting Enron. Or do you not count that as a public service?

  • (Show?)

    What I find fascinating is that, if you take away Rep. MacPhearson's starting legislative warchest of $125,501, and count only the money specifically donated to achieve the office of AG, John Kroger now leads. $402,678 to $401,788.

    That is absolutely astounding. The one advantage establishment candidates are supposed to have are money connections. Not just preexisting warchests, but continuing relationships with donors that enable them to outspend their opponents two and three to one. The fact that Greg isn't getting that advantage, despite his deep roots in old Oregon, shows his campaign is in real trouble.

  • mlw (unverified)

    I'm just very skeptical that Mac is going to put the State's interests first and follow through on tough enforcement against corporations that continue to be his clients even today. Mac represents big corps.

    Kroger prosecuted them, including Enron subsidiary PGE. As for his teaching, while he may have taught future corporate lawyers, he taught criminal law and procedure. In other words, he taught Oregon's future prosecutors and defense attorneys. Trust me, a guy who prosecuted Enron could have made a lot more money representing corporate interests than teaching. Instead, he chose to train prosecutors.

    Mac actually had the nerve to say that he never put his client's interests before the public interest while representing them. If true, that would be a violation of his duty to his corporate clients - as a corporate attorney, his job is to put his client's interests above those of the public. Why do you think they pay him $300-$500K a year instead of the $90-120K that law professors get on average? (I suppose neither of them are starving.)

    To be fair, Mac does have some very white shoe public service in the Leg as a part-timer. However, Kroger is the one who prosecuted and has the support of the law enforcement community. Put bluntly, Mac's a suit and Kroger's a cop.

  • Kate (unverified)

    MLW: Macpherson is not a corporate attorney. He is an employee benefits attorney. There is a big difference.

    And saying Kroger prosecuted Enron is being generous. He worked as a consultant on the Oregon part of the case. He was peripherally involved. He had already left his job as an Assistant U.S. prosecutor when the Enron case was happening.

    If you'd listened to Macpherson, or knew of his projects, you'd know that he is a very smart man (they are both very smart.) He is more than just a suit.

  • A. Rab. (unverified)

    Kate – Kroger was part of the taskforce for the Enron Broadband division, he was not just “peripherally involved” with the case. Also, it should be remembered that Enron was an Oregon corporation, so it is misleading to talk about “the Oregon part of the case.”

    All of that said, the point above about fundraising is really interesting. Taking out the starting money, Macpherson has been out raised. Given the background of the two candidates, this is turn of events is rather remarkable.

  • Dylan (unverified)

    It seemed that Kroger waited to announce his candidacy for this office until Hardy Myers announced his retirement. And it seems that Hardy Myers announced his retirement later than expected in order to give Macpherson (Hardy's fair-haired boy) a head-start in fundraising. And now it appears that Macpherson needed that head start very badly as it seems his only way to victory is to outspend Kroger. I think that is a fair statement as Kroger is running an active grassroots campaign and I have seen and heard nothing from any type of Macpherson organization in the way of grassroots activism.

  • JTML (unverified)

    The last time I checked, Kroger's parents had contributed $44,000 of the money you show him having received. What does that information do to your calculations, if you subtract it?

    Have Mom and Dad dumped any more money on Mr. Kroger in the past month?

  • JTML (unverified)

    Doesn't look like it. But Mr. Kroger seems to have struck a rich vein of real estate developers.

    What happens to the Kroger campaign totals if you remove the real estate development money?

  • Re: JTML (unverified)

    Are we playing a game of “let’s randomly eliminate a class of donors?”* Can I play? How would Macpherson do without money from real estate developers? Not as well. What about money from the liquor industry? Again, that hurts Macpherson. Stoel Rives, his employer and largest contributor? No Stoel Rives money hurts Macpherson.

    This game is boring; let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

    *12th from the bottom on the list of America’s favorite games.

  • JTML (unverified)

    No, anonymous person, what I was doing was pointing out how misleading it was to generalize about Kroger's fundraising without accounting for the $44,000 which his parents in Texas had contributed toward his total. That's especially true when the real "game" here is being played by the Kroger supporters, a claim that his current total represents his political support here in Oregon.

    Generally, if we look at the sources of funds, we learn something about which interests are backing candidates, and that's as true for the candidates for Attorney General as it is for the candidates for other state offices.

    <h2>I think it's relevant when a lot of out of state money finds its way into a race for state office here (I am less concerned about out of state contributions to candidates for federal office). Analyzing the contributions to candidates isn't a game--it's an exercise which furthers the purpose of campaign reporting requirements, which is to let voters know which interests and which people are backing candidates.</h2>
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