Who Gave to Minnis?

Jeff Alworth

Campaign finance information came out yesterday and, as always, it's interesting stuff.  We learned, for example, that the Governor isn't having trouble raising money.  In the past seven months, he raised $845,000--dwarfing the combined total of Jim Hill ($110k) and Pete Sorenson ($48k).  Big money is across the aisle, though, where Atkinson($270k), Mannix ($879k), and Saxton ($1.2 mil) raised over two million collectively--and more than twice as much as the Dems.

But the most interesting figure comes from Karen Minnis: $278,255.05.  That's a lotta kielbasa.  Her opponent, Rob Brading, raised $39,861.70--more in line with other candidates for state Rep. In 2004, when Rob Brading staged a serious challenge (losing a 53%-47% decision), she raised $369k for the whole election.  This year she plans to double that.   

Think she's a little concerned?

In 2004, her largest contributors included the tobacco, real estate, logging, and big pharma, nearly 25% of which came from out of state donors.  So who is on this year's list?  More of the same, including tobacco, pharmaceuticals, and health products.  She's on pace to earn a lot more from out-of-state interests--the running total is $75k, almost as much as she raised in all of 2004 from non-Oregon lobbies. 

Some of the names on the list:

Her largest donations came from the Oregon Nurses PAC ($26k), Right to Life Oregon ($15k), Oregon Trial Lawyers (1$5K), Hampton Lumber Sales ($12.5k), and Anheuser-Busch ($12k). 

Rob Brading got beat by about 1,500 votes in 2004.  It appears that Karen Minnis is going to spend an additional $350,000 this year--from wherever she can get it--to make sure they stay in the R column. 

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    Looks like my direct links don't actually lead to the information. Follow the "New search" link and enter 2006 in "election year," primary election in "election type," and State Representative in "Office." That'll give you links to both Brading and Minnis (among dozens of others).

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    Just sent another donation to the Rob Brading campaign.

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    Another donation? It isn't always about money. Especially in relatively small districts.

    What Rob really needs is volunteers. Canvassers, for now. Phone bankers later. This is because there is nothing more persuasive than person to person contact. Period. That's why the Bus Project has been so successful.

    If you're from that area, an hour here, an hour there, adds up. Get in contact with his campaign, get his message, and put on those walking shoes.

  • Levon (unverified)

    With all due respect to the previous post - it is very much about money.

    Grab your old O'Jay's vinyl album and play the song, "For the Love of Money" as a reminder of its import in Oregon politics. Let's see if I can remember one particular part of the song....oh yes, it goes like this: "Money, money, money, money, Money, MONEY!; Money, money, money money, money, money, MONEY! Some people, got to have it, hey hey, some people really need it (The Dems) hey hey." ....for a small piece of paper, it carries a lot of weight.....for that mean, mean, mean, mean green." Sorry, got carried away.

    True, doorknocking and volunteers are critical, however empirical data supports the conclusion that money is a significant factor in state races. It may not be a sufficient condition, but it is a necessary condition for victory in November.

    Minnis' big bucks means that Dems in House races throughout Oregon need our help.

    By all means, volunteer in the most important races and get out there! Additionally, dig into that piggy bank and make contributions to the most important races in the state.

    "Talking bout' cash, money. Talking bout' cash money, dollar bills y'all...... Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime?"

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    Money may not be the most important thing, but it's needed so that those volunteers have literature to hand out, snacks to eat, etc.

    I gave a donation to the campaign last night, and I'm likely to do so again in the future. I'm trying to spread my donations around a bit to incumbents with a tough race or those challenging R's.

    Also, give to Future PAC if you can, as they do a lot of work to help campaigns across the state. While you may not have seen e-mails from them yet about candidates outside the metro area, I assure you they are helping out. And so is the DPO. I know the DPO is working to put together canvasses all over the state on the 29th as part of the Neighbor-to-Neighbor organizing day that is being put on by the DNC.

    If you're interested, visit: http://democrats.org/a/party/a_50_state_strategy/50_state_canvass/

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    Under Petition 37, just about all of these contributions to Minnis would be banned, since Petition 37 bans all corporate contributions.

  • DAN GRADY (unverified)


    Hey Gresham Voter; A vote for Karen Minnis is a vote to promote a non-existent corporate tax base to be replaced by an exploding personal income tax, and sales tax that the smug Karen may later help her cronies use as a "Tax and Spender" campaign at election time.

        By spending the $350,000.00 on swaying 1500 voters to get one House Representative Seat she is telling the state, and all of her constituents that her representation has nothing to do with them until the last months before the election. The media blitz to tell a tale of half truths that cannot be rebutted until the election is over and the deed is done.
        Welcome to Republican Politics that insists that smaller government is their cornerstone, all the while government cost explodes, service diminish, and our government is sold to the highest corporate donors.
        So when you send your child to a Reynolds School District school like say Hartley Elementary, remember they will be supervised, but not really educated. They'll do what work is needed to pass a math and reading test, and that's about it. Ask yourself why they never send home homework?? The vote for this Ideologue will cost you, but their corporate sponsor will make out very well in this trade off.
        What is your tax dollar meant for Republican? Karen intends to privatize government services, or deprive them for the sake of a private corporation in the name of smaller government that inevitablely cost us many times more than if we had representation that wanted only to govern well. A Democrat.

    A. Good Governance = A Democrat. B. Bankrupt-Inept Governance = A Republican.

        Our resent history of Republican government by a party whom does not believe in government has been a complete failure, can anyone argue otherwise,that is sober!

    Happy Thoughts;

    Dan Grady

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    A few quick things...

    Minnis' district also covers Troutdale, Wood Village, Fairview, and some unincorporated areas of the county. HD 50 has the larger chunk of Gresham. People out this way often get offended if they're lumped in as being from Gresham-- they're quite proud of their little towns.

    From the Oregonian: "Minnis has said she hopes to raise $750,000 for her re-election, which would be a record for House candidates or incumbents."

    "Minnis has raised another $98,000 for her speaker's political action committee that she typically uses to help other Republican campaigns."

    At this same time in 2004, she has raised $49,845 for the speaker's PAC.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)

    As I pointed out in a thread below, it looks like the R's are going to target Jeff Merkley for leading the effort to topple Minnis. Jeff passed through most of his money to FuturePAC and other Dem's, not knowing the R's had their candidate lying in wait to file on March 7, and seeded with $20,000 of Minnis-Scott money. That doesn't look like the nominal, token opponent Jeff has rolled over before.

    As Jenni noted in another post, every Multnomah County house district east of I-205 is vulnerable to a Republican win, including Merkley's.

    Look for a good chunk of that Minnis money to flow into the District 47 race to unseat or at least rattle the House Democratic Leader.

    • Wes
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    In Multnomah County, the dividing line is definitely I-205. Looking back at past election results on a variety of issues, there is always a distinct change in results once you cross I-205.

    It tends to coincide with several things, including the large number of non-affiliated voters, inequity in services on this side of the county, etc.

  • Matt (unverified)


    Seriously? Who do you think you are? Targetting Merkley, why? With whom? The speaker's district has a democratic registration edge, and should be winnable or at least move Minnis away from her hard right agenda. That is the pupose of running at her.

    Merkley, though he is a partisan as well, is also in a seat that he very well represents. I do wonder if the same can be said for Karen Minnis.

    So, really, try to spread that elsewhere...

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    Believe me when I say Rep. Merkley is taking the challenge from the former Oregon Citzens Alliance attorney very seriously. He's not going to let anyone, even someone who worked for a group as toxic as the OCA, sneak up on him. However, he's confident that his record of leadership on issues that matter to his working class district will carry him to re-election.

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    Merkley does indeed have a challenger: Bruce McCain.

    You can view his C&E report here (PDF).

    And he's definitely being funded by Minnis and Scott. His C&E report shows $21,000 in contributions:

    $5,000 came from Wayne Scott's PAC. $10,000 came from Speaker's PAC. $5,000 came from Majority 2006.

    I did some searching around, and thus far haven't found much on him. There is an expense on the C&E for a web site, but I haven't located one yet. It will eventually be at http://brucemccain.com/, based on WHOIS info.

    I did find a person by this name who works with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office. He's a lieutenant and appears to be a spokesperson for the sheriff's office. I don't know if this is the same person, though.

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    Great to hear. I know he's done a lot for the district, including his work towards payday loan reform.

    Merkley testified at a hearing in Salem on payday loans (after Minnis & Co. cancelled the Portland hearing). His district has a large concentration of these businesses, and they are preying on his constituents.

    Unlike Minnis, he is in touch with the needs and issues in his district.

  • Wesley Charles (unverified)


    Thanks. So, even though Merkley's opponent once represented the OCA (early 1990's?) as an attorney, do you think Merkley's close association with BRO will hurt him in a district that actually passed M36?

    Also, that Republican video that folks are talking about certainly morphs Merkley into a BRO-Dianne Linn-MultCo conspirator.

    Well, at least someone realizes that Merkley is in fact a target this time. The fact that 47 and 49 are literally next to each other with the Speaker in one and House Democratic Leader in the other, makes for an interesting battlezone. I can see these two campaigns getting intertwined early and often as FuturePAC and Majority 2006 hurl their caucus resources at each other.

    And Jenni is spot on about Mult Co east of I-205. Just look at election results in 47, 48, 49 and 50 on tax issues and Measures 36 and 37. That part of Mult Co is not as progressive as the Democratic registration edge would lead one to believe.

    • Wes
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    Districts 51 and 52 are the same way (they're only partially in Mult Co).

    Back after the 2004 election I did some research on the county and how it had voted on a variety of issues. It was quite interesting.

  • Travis (unverified)

    A little off topic but replying to the first few posts about volunteering. I went to rob brady's website and said I would like to help but it has been a week now and I have not been contacted. Anybody know another way to get ahold of him so I can help out?

  • DAN GRADY (unverified)

    Posted by: Jenni Simonis | Apr 11, 2006 7:41:06 PM

    Tell me Jenni, is this a prevailing attitude that their pride is extended to their better developed property, and more affluent voter at the tangible expense of Gresham & Portland Police Bureau attentions? Landlords whom are free to behave like the worst slum lords in the Rockwood neighborhoods, with abandon cars on the streets with addicts, and drunks living in them at the consent of the Landlords & Police.

    Teens that are free to terrorize these neighborhoods of Sect 8 housing, immigrant populations that seem oblivious to a police presence until a shooting happens. The Gresham Police Department working on a shoe string the way the Chief and her commanders tell it, with as little as 8 police officers on patrol on a weekend?? To keep property taxes low, and services sparse.

    I was told by the day commander when we had the misfortune of being in the Hartley Elementary neighborhood that we had to be crazy to move into that neighborhood with children. We live next to a city park, three blocks from the school, and within walking distance of shopping.

    I will participate in a vigorous grassroots effort to sway the vote; I will not participate in the battle for campaign money. I believe the donations needed to run that kind of campaign is so divisive, that it will work against the candidate this coming election.

    Mayor Potter is a good example of a candidate elected by its constituents. I would like to project this form of grass roots campaigning into this kind of Representative Race.

    Happy Thoughts;

    Dan Grady

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    Things are definitely bad in parts of east county, and they're quickly spreading into the more affluent areas. I rent an apartment, so I know how bad it can be.

    We definitely need to look at voter education out here-- people really are getting what they pay for. Gresham has the lowest tax rate of any city in Oregon that offers full services. It's even lower than many cities that offer fewer services.

    People need to be educated that the problems out here regarding the police force being too small, the fire dept. not having the funding they need, the sad state of our parks, etc. are directly related to their unwillingness to pay taxes.

    I don't think you need to be involved in the battle for campaign dollars. People volunteering to talk to voters at the door and at the phone, helping to put together materials, etc. are worth a lot. You get a better response from people when you're a volunteer as opposed to a paid phonebanker/canvasser.

    Money is important to pay for all the things needed to support those volunteers. But that doesn't mean you have to be in the fight for campaign money-- it just means we should all give what we can and encourage those we know to do so as well.

    Through grassroots efforts, we can get the facts out to the voters, and we can change minds. But we've got to work together to do so.

  • David e. Delk (unverified)

    As one of the chief petitioner of Initiative Petition #8 (Consititutional Amendment to allow campaign finance limitations), I must note that the answer to this question of Karen Minnis and her big buck corporate sponsors is effective limitations on campaign contributions in candidate elections. Go back to the original writers piece and look at the corporate names backing Karen. It is time get to corporations out of our election process. It is time for each one of you who has posted comment here to activitly support the two campaign finance reform initiatives being circulated, #8 and #37. How do you do this? Gather some signatures and/or contribute to the effort. Go to www.fairelections.net to learn more and to help.

    Measure 8 is a constitutional amendment to allow limitations on campaign contributions. When Oregon had limitations a decade ago, voters in Lake Oswego got rid of Bob Tierman (R) and replaced him with Richard Devlin (D) because Tierman couldn't get the big corporate donations. For those of you who were not in Oregon then, Tierman was a very conservate, corporate Republican who no one could beat as long as money flowed freely. Hoever, following that election the Oregon Supreme Court threw the limitations out and we went backward again. So this constitutional amendment is required to get around that Oregon Supreme Court decision.

    The other initiative, #37, is a stature which bans all corporate contributions and limits how much individuals can give. Unlike federal level limitations, the limitations in #37 are not filled with holes and money will not go around the limitations. This is a very detailed and effective measure.

    Until we can control money in the political process, we can expect to continue to fight these same fights over and over again. And in most cases, losing them.

    Support effective limits. Support Initiative Petition 8 and 37. Endorsed by Clackamas County Democrats, Alliance for Democracy, Sierra Club, Osprig and others.

  • LT (unverified)

    A couple things: As I recall, Tiernan took on Devlin again--for state sen. in 2002. No limits, but the active Oregon Bus Project. And as I recall, Devlin won that one by a bit under 1400 votes.

    With regard to this: And Jenni is spot on about Mult Co east of I-205. Just look at election results in 47, 48, 49 and 50 on tax issues and Measures 36 and 37. That part of Mult Co is not as progressive as the Democratic registration edge would lead one to believe.

    Don't know about up there, but down here in the valley there will be issues many consider more pressing than generalized taxes, 36, 37. I'm talking about incumbents talking one way and voting another. I'm talking about how things get paid for. Progressive is just another label, and labels don't solve anything.

    "Taxes are bad and we need spending discipline" doesn't explain how we can get more state troopers, fund DD services (there was a forum on that here locally with legislators promising support to an audience of 400 people--but where do they get the money to keep promises made when Fairview closed, not to mention the Staley settlement?), even discuss funding Jessica's law just with soundbites. And when was the last time you went to any gathering of hundreds of people with legislators in the front of the room?

    I hope there are no incumbents out there who believe details can't be discussed in an election year--they couldn't be discussed during the session either.

    I sense a real hunger for open debate and solutions. Not to mention that attacks by the "do nothing in public but extend the session all summer" crowd may fall on deaf ears as just more politicians playing political games. These ordinary folks I know are not ideologues, they are people who want to know what legislators on the public payroll are doing with their time. As in "gee, if I pulled something like that at work...".

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    Things are going to be different all over the state regarding what's important. We weren't saying those items were necessarily the most important, just that they show how Multnomah County splits at I-205.

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    In listing how much Minnis has received, don't forget her Speaker's PAC (donations of $10K or more listed below):

    Phillip Morris, USA: $20,000 Hampton Lumber Sales Co: $12,500 Pharm Research & Mfg. of America: $10,000 Right to Life Oregon PAC: $10,000 Pamplin Corp: $10,000 Henry Swigert: $10,000

    $41,000 of her $98,000 comes from out of state.

    $12,000 comes from pharma and $20,000 from tobacco.

    <h2>Minnis uses this PAC to give her own campaign money as well as candidates she heavily supports, such as Jeff Merkley's opponent.</h2>

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