Outrage: GOP Fundraising Video... filmed inside the capitol building!

Oregon House Republicans may have violated state ethics rules that prohibit fundraising in taxpayer-funded facilities.

Minnisvideo_1They filmed a campaign fundraising video inside the state capitol.

The video, available at the House Republicans website, includes shots of Karen Minnis at the speaker's desk, Wayne Scott at the majority leader's desk, and the "host" of the video in the capitol lobby and in the House gallery.

From KOIN:

House Democrats Mary Nolan and Phil Barnhart contend that it was not appropriate for Republican Speaker Karen Minnis (pictured) and Majority Leader Wayne Scott to use their offices because those offices are provided at taxpayer expense.

Nolan and Barnhart say if the video wasn't in their offices or if it wasn't for fund raising that would be one thing. But they say using their offices even for just a backdrop is another.

"Sitting at your desk in your capitol it is a desk and office that is provided at taxpayer expense, you should be doing the work that the taxpayers pay you to do. You shouldn't be using that facility to do campaign work, and that is what happens on this video," Nolan said.

Read the story. Watch the video (QT, WMV). Discuss.

  • (Show?)

    Just watched the video...

    This is why we need to get better at setting our message. The R's do a good job of creating our message for us.

    The R's talk about us changing "marriage laws," when they were actually working on civil unions. They make it seem like homosexuals would be able to be "married" and that every law on the books would be changed so they could be "married." In actuality, it's the anti-discrimination rules that affect so many parts of state law. It's no different than protections for minorities, based on age or sex, etc.

    And just like they have in every state, they try to connect civil union laws to what's taught in the classroom. The only thing that would change or be added is that when discussing our laws, they could say that civil unions were available here in Oregon and that discrimination against people based on perceived sexuality was illegal. But they make it seem like we'd be teaching homosexuality in school.

    They twist everything around and use the Mult Co Commission's vote on marriage licenses and Goldschmidt to try to taint the House Dem candidates.

    They make it look like the D's were tax crazy and were trying to raise taxes everywhere on the poor people. What they don't talk about is what exactly the taxes were-- they just try to be vague enough so people will think these things are bad.

    This was put together like a documentary or news story. It's very well done and I can see it working quite well on conservatives and those who feel that the state/local governments already take too much of their money.

    I do hope they get busted for using the capitol, though. That was wrong and they should get in trouble for it.

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    Is that really you? Can we say impersonating troll here? I'm sorry, but that's not a post my Jenni Simonis. Jenni, tell me if I'm wrong and we can talk.

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  • Jesse O (unverified)

    (a) Why isn't there anything on the House Democrats page about this; (b) Any link to the actual text/rule that they're breaking?

    I'm annoyed that the TV station let the Minnis person ramble about taxes.

    Frankly, I thought the video was gross. But probably good politics. Democrats have to be meaner, and say

    "The Oregon House Republican agenda: Unequal rights. Favoring fat cats and big business over the average Oregonian. And destruction of clean air and water."

    Why not?

  • Anon (unverified)

    This may be ugly, but I hope the Democrats are CERTAIN their house is clean before they make charges. I've seen LOTS of REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT literature that includes photos of Legislators in the Capitol, in their offices, on the floor, in committee. Many of those photos are "posed" in the Capitol by campaign photographers sent specifically to shoot photos of incumbents "working" at the Capitol.

    Both sides also frequently use audio and video clips of committee and floor debates in campaign-related commercials. This is a slippery slope that our Supreme Court will ultimately rule constitutional.

    Until then, it may be fun to put Scott and Minnis on the defensive as long as our house is VERY CLEAN!

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)

    "Oregon House Republicans may have violated state ethics rules that prohibit fundraising in taxpayer-funded facilities."

    What "state ethics rule" are you referring to? I'm not aware of anything in ORS chapters 171, 173, 244 that addresses this issue. Somebody please post the rule in question here.

    Anyway, I followed the link to KOIN, read the story by Eric Mason, then watched the video from the Republican site.

    Whatever one thinks of the video content, I'm sure Minnis and Scott are gleeful that their site and video hits are rising due to the KOIN story and blog threads such as this.

    • Wes
  • (Show?)

    I don't see what was wrong with my post-- I said their video is going to work very well with the people they're targeting. And they did a really good job of twisting our message around to make it appear that Merkley and other House Dems didn't care about Oregonians and instead wanted to tax, tax, tax.

    They put together the video in such a way that it looks like a news report or documentary, making it appear all the more believable.

    Put less nicely, everything they said was a load of crap-- they twisted everything around and made it so vague that it makes it look like our House & Senate Dems did nothing good. The facts show it was actually the opposite, but the average voter won't know that. They don't have time to go and look at what the votes actually are.

    We've got to get even better at crafting our message and showing how much good we did during the last session and how the R's killed bills that were badly needed for Oregonians.

    And they should get busted for using the capitol.

  • (Show?)

    Anon wrote, I've seen LOTS of REPUBLICAN and DEMOCRAT literature

    Oops, you just outed yourself.... Only right-wingers use "Democrat" as an adjective. It's "Democratic"...

    Of course, there's a big difference between "legislators at work" photos for voter contact mail (which are often NOT shot by campaign photogs) and a fundraising video. Asking for money is the key here.

  • LT (unverified)

    First of all, the video can only impress people with high speed connections. With my dialup I am not going to even try to watch it. Second, there are voters who don't spend much if any time online. How will it impress them?

    Third, this is the "what Oregon can't afford" crowd--Minnis paid high salaries to her top staff (several thou a month)and then told us we couldn't afford school funding, etc. Breathes there a Democrat with soul so dead they can't make hay with that the old fashioned way--word of mouth, speeches, press conferences, mailings etc?

    Fourth, what problem is solved by talking about gay marriage and civil unions? Does it keep all the promises made when Fairview closed? Does it fund Jessica's Law? Does it pay for more troopers or for delayed maintenance on school buildings?

    The House GOP leadership should be held to the letter of the law whatever that is. But more important, "Do you want political ads made in offices paid for by taxpayers and can only be seen by voters with high speed internet connections?" should be a slogan for Democratic challengers. It is one thing to film a legislator coming into or going out of or standing in front of the capitol. But showing offices, podium, etc. should not be allowed.

    The target audience is the voter who (if lucky) has a full time job, family and friends, church, civic, or other outside interests. Like the professional who owns a practice, the store clerk, the auto mechanic, the farmer. If someone says "I want candidates who will mow the lawn and fix the roof, not play political games and argue", how does this online video win over that voter?

    Or are we talking about political activists and staff who claim to "know" what voters think without asking them?

  • (Show?)

    I'd imagine that the online video is probably just a beginning. If it's like most videos, they'll host house parties where they show the video, they'll give copies of the videos to friends, etc.

    I have a hard time believing they'd spend that much on a video and not use it in ways outside of the Internet.

    For those who haven't (or can't) see the video, it focuses on the Democrats wasting time on things the people already voted on (gay marriage, property rights, etc.) and trying to tax, tax, tax. [Note: those opinions are theirs from the video, not mine.] Then it talks about how the R's worked on this and that and how they're fighting for average Oregonians, etc.

    They work it in such a way that it looks like the Democrats are at fault for nothing getting through the legislature, that they're just out to tax all the poor Oregonians who are having a hard time in this bad economy, etc. It's a well done propaganda piece-- lacking in facts, attacks on Ds are vague or untrue, etc. However, because of the way they've worded things and put it together, I can see it working well with segments of voters.

    That's why we've got to work hard to educate the voters on the facts-- that it was the Republicans who kept important bills from passing; that they were not aiming tax increases on poor people; that they weren't trying to legalize gay marriage-- they were doing civil unions, which is what M36 advocates had said should be done; etc. People don't have the time to sit on the net and look up bills and see how people voted. But they do have time to watch a video that is a few minutes long when it's shown at a friend's house.

  • LT (unverified)

    Having talked to employees of D, R, and I legislators, one of the first things we have to educate people about is that specifics DISCUSSED PUBLICLY are essential, and soundbites are no longer acceptable--2005 session was the last straw.

    Don't let anyone say we needn't ask about the funding for "Jessica's Law" because "you can't put a price on keeping pedophiles off the street". This is not a team sport, this is a publicly funded legislative body operating under a Constitution which begins "WE THE PEOPLE". And some think Jessica's Law would not be in front of the special session were it not an election year.

    Over at "Breaking News: Special Session" Capt. Dandy and Magenta are worried that money for Jessica's Law might come out of the DD budget. In my opinion, it is the job of legislators to reasure people concerned about DD funding that no funding will take from them to pay for incarceration under Jessica's Law. There are always some who think they don't have to explain the details to us because they know what they are doing and we're "just voters". Guess what, this is an election year!

    If incumbent legislators are speaking at a neighborhood living room, community center, etc. that is a whale of a lot better than burying people in mailings or broadcast ads. Fewer voters are the sheep some politicians think they are, and in such a forum they can ask questions. Nothing subversive about that. And I don't buy the automoton "base" theory. Many ordinary people I know are angry about the 2005 session and would love to ask a question of a legislator. And some legislators might be amazed at the ordinary voters who would rather hear about DD funding, or health care, or schools, or public safety than one more divisive social issue debate.

  • (Show?)

    LT.... it's a fundraising video, or didn't you read the post?

  • (Show?)


    Is that really you? Can we say impersonating a pragmatic gunslinger here?

    I'm tickled that Jenni's calling for another reading of Orwell by The Left. These bastids didn't get and don't hold power based on what they actually stand for.....Or by opposing what we really stand for.....


    We've seen inside the maggot infested head of Oregon's own Right Wing Spin Machine version 2006. Those of us charged with getting the Dem message out at least have some ideas of weapons in play......

  • (Show?)

    It was really me and it was really Jon.

    I'm looking at it from the standpoint of a voter who isn't involved, is frustrated with the state government, etc. While the video may be untrue, misleading, unethical, etc., those average voters won't know that.


    That's why we need to all be out knocking on doors or volunteering in activities that support door knocking (phone banks, helping collate materials for canvasses, data entry info from phone banks and canvasses, etc.) so that we can get the truth out to the voters. A lot of people are afraid of canvassing, don't want to canvass, or can't canvass. There is still plenty to be done, though-- we can use everyone.

    We have the truth and the facts behind us, as well as a lot of dedicated volunteers. By combining those, we can get out and talk to (at least) tens of thousands of voters across the state.

    Live in an area that is extremely safe? Consider nearby neighborhoods and cities that aren't. Here in Multnomah County, that would be eastern county, the west districts that are shared with Washington County, and the districts along the southern border of the county that are shared with Clackamas County. Contact your local Democratic Party (or the DPO if yours isn't active), and they'll be able to tell you where those areas are.

    Even if you live in a "safe" district, you still need to get out and talk to your neighbors. While they're most likely voting for Democrats, they still may be interested in volunteering, have good ideas, or want to donate.

    It's nice that the R's have given us some of their talking points so early in the election cycle-- gives us some stuff to work with for now. But it makes me wonder what they're going to pull out later.

  • Lee (unverified)

    Kari, Anon is right...it goes both ways...and I'm democratic and a democrate.

  • (Show?)

    Lee... of course it goes both ways. I haven't seen any Democratic videos asking for money filmed inside the state capitol.

  • LT (unverified)

    Jenni and everyone else:

    I think we not only need to be knocking on doors (people may not be home, may be in the middle of dinner or something, etc.) but engaging in conversations as the opportunity presents itself.

    Last week when I was driven home from an auto repair shop maybe it was lawn signs or something that started the conversation, but the driver seemed to be making a crack about all politicians. So I said my Grandfather had been a prosecutor who put away gangsters during Prohibition. He said "that is what we need--politicians who mow the lawn and fix the roof".

    I think he meant funding schools, putting state troopers on the road, etc. NOT "marriage laws" ot being anti-tax, etc. Somehow I don't see him visiting a partisan (or for that matter political) website to watch a video.

    More importantly, the DD folks and the Jessica's Law folks could clash at the special session--just about a week away. If any politician tries to say there is only funding for one of those, not both, I don't think it will matter where people stand on gay marriage. Those issues are real life. I don't care who it is, I don't see the public having patience with any legislator saying some nonsense like "the voters have spoken on Measure 30, we hate taxes and the Democrats love to tax". Either those programs are funded in a way that is publicly discussed, or I think ordinary folks will get angry. Does anyone here really believe that someone with strong feelings on DD issues or putting pedophiles away will put up with vague soundbites about "spending discipline" because neither of those really has to be implemented with actual funding as long as the Rs repeat often enough "gay marriage is bad and taxes must be cut by spending discipline"?

    Last time I heard, neither "major" party had over 40% of the vote. And no matter how many ads in how many different venues say that Democrats are those evil people who believe in gay marriage and raising taxes, I don't think people who want problems solved are going to vote a straight Republican ticket just because Minnis & Co. make an online video. I think the tide has gone out on that nonsense--why else would Minnis think she needs that much money?

  • (Show?)

    Oh, I definitely agree that we need to talk to people whenever the opportunity presents itself. Not just when we got canvassing. But we do need more people to come out and canvass with us.

    If you live in Multnomah County, you can visit http://www.multdems.org/canvass to see what dates are coming up.

    I don't think those people will visit the web site. But many people have republican friends who may invite them over for a "get together" and show them a copy of the video. I think the web site version is there to pump up the base. But as much money as those videos cost to shoot and edit, I'd imagine they're going to use it in more ways than just that.

    And no, it's not going to impress those who have a very specific issue they want addressed (unless it's something the R's agree on, like no equal rights for homosexuals). But that't not who they're targeting. They're looking for people who are mad about something generally (funding for schools, taxes, etc.). And that's a large chunk of the swing vote.

  • LT (unverified)

    Is the video still available?

    I just clicked on the link in the post because I thought I'd send the video link to my friend who is a swing voter (may be registered NAV for all I know, voted Bush/ Hooley in 2004, previously voted for people as diverse as Kitzhaber and Gordon Smith).

    But I couldn't find a link to the video! I did see an site where they obviously think highly of themselves. OK picture of Karen Minnis, but does Wayne Scott think that is the best picture ever taken of him?

    And anyone who has ever had a design class (where things like contrast and which color combinations are easiest to read) or ever designed a website should take a critical look at the HOUSE GOP website. Do they think we are stupid? Do they really believe money is all that matters? Some of the indiv. member websites still have "issues" under construction, others have incredibly vague sound bite proposals (Cameron says "will help build dreams" or something like that under "economy") but what were they actually doing while on the public payroll last session? Was their voting philosophy "whatever Karen wants, Karen gets"?

    Anyone who has paid any attention at all would realize there is disconnect between the actual legislators and the websites. They are faced with an election year special session just before the primary (when did that last happen?) where all the nice rhetoric will be tested by actual votes.

    But what really struck me was the use of color on the list of members. Is the site set up to attract ordinary voters, or only to attract contributors? I learned in the desktop publishing class I took several years ago (taught by someone who gave us quite a design component because she'd been part of a business which made signs that had to be visible from a distance like at tourist sites) that certain color combinations are easier to read than others, and tend to notice that. The name and the district number of the GOP candidates are white on red, the PAC name and PAC number are black on white. Which do they consider more important?

    The Oregon House Democrats blog is featuring as their lead story right now BRIAN CLEM AT DEMOFORUM. Nice format, clean lines, pleasing shade of blue.

    Look at Westlund's website: earth tones and white, issues down the left hand column, videos in the upper right hand corner (both in small and large file size so even someone with dial up can watch at least some of them).

    This year will be hard work, but I really think the tide is going out on Minnis & Co. Will Alan Brown and Billy Dalto (who barely won last time by only several hundred votes) win again if people like Cowan and Clem? Have you ever known someone who said "I really like that challenger, but the incumbent is spending so much money I'll vote for the incumbent"?

    Look at the C & E info as it comes out. Is there anyone who normally contributes to Republicans who has contributed to a Democrat? Perhaps they got fed up with that Republican? It really is about winning the individual races.

    This will be won district by district. The guy from the neighborhood association or church or the local official or whoever may look really good after the dysfunctional 2005 session. And while it is good to have a Democratic message, I know from experience that it really is about candidate quality and word of mouth advertising. I have seen challengers defeat incumbents who were tougher than this crowd. They did it the old fashioned way: lots of public contact, friends (of whatever persuasion) who spoke up and said "Darned right I am supporting my friend in this election because you couldn't find a better candidate anywhere".

  • (Show?)

    i wish this was an outrage. fat chance. most people will go "eh" as if everyone is doing this. the simple fact, here in Oregon, most people running for office, from both parties, play fair. (i'm not talking about the sources of money, which isn't fair but usually isn't illegal.) the few who do cheat, like Minnis and Scott are doing here, should be slammed not only by us, their Sworn Enemies, but the media as well. it should be a big deal, and people should be howling about it. that few people are -- that's the outrage.

  • (Show?)


    They're on the right-hand side of the page. There are two different file types, each with a broadband and dial-up option.

    Have you looked at the Oregon Republican Party web site? It's awful. And it still has their listing of candidates from 2004. I've seen much better sites on the Dem side, and many of those were created by volunteers.

  • (Show?)

    I just recieved my overseas ballot, I didn't know that I'm actually in Queen Karen's district (due to the fact my last address was in East County and I haven't voted since Nov 2004).

    Does anyone know if it would be worth it as a voter to file a complaint with the Secretary of State's Office over the video Minnis created?

    Also I think I'm going to send Mr. Rob some money to help his campaign since I can't be there in person to help out. Does anyone have a link to his website?


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