Blue Oregon made the most positive change in its six-year history a few months ago. Do you remember when it was the wild wild west and anybody could post anything they wanted under a pseudonym? I disliked it and was enthusiastic for the change because before hand, every anonymous commenter was akin to a bad sniper, just shooting at anything that came into its sites. It was no way to run a website intended to have meaningful commentary.
Meanwhile, court decisions this past year, starting with this one have essentially legalized this same underhanded anonymous sniping but this time in a place we can afford it the least -- Federal elections. As a result more than 30 “super PAC’s” have formed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money in congressional and senate races yet so long as they maintain a modicum of independence from candidates, they don’t have to report where they receive a single dime.
In Oregon this week we just got our first dose of what this ruling will mean when the Concerned Taxpayers of America began an ad blitz in Southern Oregon, threatening to spend unlimited amounts of money to defeat US Congressman Peter DeFazio. Though commercials will air in heavy rotation voters will have no idea who is paying to try to influence their decisions.
I personally don’t always agree with Congressman DeFazio. While I’m fan of his in general, his unwillingness to support certain progressive issues – with the DREAM Act being near and dear to my heart this week, frustrate me. But to paste him as nothing but a foot soldier for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, as the ads attempt to do, is making things up from thin air. To be honest, if anything his inability to go along with Speaker Pelosi and President Obama is much more noteworthy. DeFazio was famously chided by President Obama in a House Caucus meeting telling DeFazio, “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” in reference to his no vote on stimulus legislation. And Speaker Pelosi has him on her shit list as well.
That doesn’t matter one bit to Jason Miller and his DC-based PAC called Concerned Taxpayers of America. By all accounts, both are completely anonymous. One can’t find information on them and because of the court ruling even if we knew who Jason was, he’d never be required to report his contributors. He’s probably never stepped foot in Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, yet here he is spending unlimited amounts of money running television ads on the race, without disclosing where the money is coming from – unnecessarily turning Oregon it back into the wild wild west.