Republican Treasurer Candidate: Chris "Mystery Money" Telfer

Steve Novick

It’s thoroughly depressing to see that the one Republican who claims she’s running for Treasurer is State Senator Chris Telfer. Telfer’s the one who claimed that a Secretary of State audit said that the State had billions of extra dollars lying around for the taking. When the Secretary of State’s office and Legislative Fiscal explained that that was simply untrue, Telfer continued to insist that it must be true. It was one of the more bizarre episodes in the Measure 66 / 67 campaign.

Here are selections from the Oregonian story in January:

Reports that Oregon has billions of dollars stashed away in surplus accounts -- fanned by Republican legislators and opponents of proposed tax increases -- are bunk, say the accountants who compile an annual report on the state's financial status.

"I'm always amazed that people could think there's a pot of gold here that no one knew about except the state controller's division," said Kathryn Ross, the statewide accounting and reporting manager in the Department of Administrative Services ....

In a news release earlier this week, Telfer said, "This report confirms that there are billions of dollars for use at the Legislature's discretion."

No, it doesn't, Ross said ...

Ken Rocco, the legislative fiscal officer, said he wrestled with this issue a year ago and wrote a long memo to lawmakers explaining why the ending fund balances weren't flush with money that could be used to fill budget holes.

"It's the same thing we said before," Rocco said. "The vast majority of these funds are tied up in various special kinds of trust funds, revolving loan accounts" and other restrictions.

  • John Silvertooth (unverified)

    I wouldn't under estimate Chris Telfer for one minute. I believe she changed parties to run for her seat.

    She is a former Dem FYI and her brother worked for former liberal Dem. St. Rep. Tom Throop of Bend in the 1970's.

    She won't fit into their idealogical straight jacket either.

  • bradley (unverified)

    Enough about Telfer. Why don't you run, Mr. Novick? I would vote for you early and often.

  • Julie Fahey (unverified)

    The fact that she's a CPA just made it that much more egregious to me that she was spreading such blatant misinformation. Depressing, really. I was at a town hall meeting on 66/67 where several people were convinced that the government was hiding a secret $3 billion fund... the legislators handled it well, but it was just very discouraging to see the real impact of her statements.

  • LT (unverified)

    Anyone who believes in Mystery Money should be required to stand in front of a town hall full of skeptical voters and explain a) exactly where that money was---and is she a believer in the "all funds budget" theory? b) explain why such wonderful things :< happened after Measure 28 and 30 when no mystery money materialized. Does she know what finally happened to the leader of the mystery money crowd?

    c) if she really believes taxes are evil, run for Treas. as "a vote for Telfer is a vote against taxes".

    And specifically what policies of St. Treas. Westlund would she keep and which change, and WHY?

    The NO on 66 & 67 crowd were very big on "these are bad taxes, and we don't know what will happen if they fail".

    How STUPID do they think we are? Preparations had been made on what to cut if the measures failed, but those weren't really going to happen? Gimme a break!

    If Telfer is as smart as she claims to be, she will address all these issues and not act like she has a chip on her shoulder because all good people should agree with whatever she says and not ask questions.

    I believe that Ben Westlund was the standard of quality in Oregon politics the way Tom McCall was. What label do they deserve?

    Anyone who would say "former liberal Dem. St. Rep. Tom Throop of Bend in the 1970's" has a different definition than I have.

    I don't recall being very impressed with St. Rep. Throop.

  • Ms Chan (unverified)

    Nightmare on Center St.

  • (Show?)

    Maybe Chris Telfer thinks that because she succeeded him in the State Senate, she gets to succeed him as the State Treasurer?

  • John Silvertooth (unverified)

    Wow hold the horses- I didn't say a dang thing about the veracity of Telfer's statememts or whatever- I probably wouldn't vote for her myself- I'll say it again though one would underestimate her to their peril- she would be a formidable candidate.

    It may come as a shock but not everyone lives and dies by what it says in the Oregonian or cares that much about 66 & 67.

    I'd tend to be more impressed with a candiate that first has something positive to say about what they would do for Oregon rather than open with negatives on the opponent.

    After the national Democrats in the US Senate have failed to deliver on the Obama agenda our little blue sweep is in danger of evaporating if you haven't noticed.

    So you didn't like Throop huh? Who did you go for in those days some of our blue darlings from Portland like Drew Davis, Glenn Otto, Lonnie Roberts?

    I can tell it's shaping up to be a great Democratic campaign- the knives are drawn and slashing. Peace Out.

  • (Show?)

    R-Rep. Sal Esquivel HD6 in Medford stood shoulder to shoulder with Telfer and spread the same bunk. The claim he and Telfer made that millions and millions in state funds exist demonstrates how little they understand about general fund purposes. They continue to violate the public trust with their tea bag rhetoric.

  • RDurig (unverified)

    She believe's government is not transparent. That most money is raised by fees, about 50%, such as parks, Deq, building, if fees are collect above the department budgeted amount, then you have a surplus.

    She has worked on the project for about two years and many departments, refuse to disclose in a transparent manor.

    Yes of course their is a problem when an elected official, a CPA takes two years, and doors are still closed. Transparency is good, hiding is wrong.

    Yes, their is surplus how much is the question.

    We need to stop the party politics and do what right for the right reason. The people, the poor are better off why are we trying to hurt the ones we claim to help.

  • Jason (unverified)

    I wonder how many of you personally talked with Telfer about her ideas and position on the state budget?

  • LT (unverified)

    Jason, if I run into Sen. Telfer today at the capitol in the House for Filing Day, I intend to ask some questions.

    Like whether what she would say if asked at a campaign event to explain her views on the difference between general fund budget and all funds budget. No theory, no jargon, just simple declarative sentences.

    Which policies of the Westlund Treasurer's office would she continue, which would she change, and why?

    For that matter, representing Westlund's old Senate district, does she understand why so many people across the state and across the political spectrum are grieving his loss?

    Regarding Posted by: RDurig | Mar 9, 2010 8:15:10 AM:

    Has Sen. Telfer worked with the Transparency website folks (from Jefferson Smith to Kim Thatcher, that is not an ideological group)? If not, why not?

    "She has worked on the project for about two years and many departments, refuse to disclose in a transparent manor."

    Exactly what are the circumstances? She called people and they didn't call back? She wrote a letter on official letterhead and no one ever responded?

    If she showed good manners, requested specific information which was not provided in a timely manner, and no one in the leadership of her party was able to get the information for her, then there is a problem.

    But details seem to be lacking in that regard. And RDurig may want to go back to his manor house, open the dictionary, and look up the difference between transparent manner (sometimes a communication problem) and transparent manor (which would fit the definition of a glass house, one would imagine).

  • RDurig (unverified)

    Thanks LT

    First I'm very dyslexics, and people make assumption on my manors and spelling that I'm:bad speller, naive, I could site many pages, but I'm dyslexic and this is just harder for me than most, plus I coming into a hostile tertiary for my message.

    So yes I'm use to personal attracts that what dealing with discrimination is all about. Sorry I have no idea how to improve my internal wired faults.


    What are the circumstances? 1). She called people and they didn't call back? 2). She wrote a letter on official letterhead and no one ever responded? 1) Yes, 2) Yes, I believe see is very dogmatic to get a clear picture, and the powers that be are providing almost systematic resistance.

  • John Silvertooth (unverified)

    Hey LT guess what- it's Tom Throops old district as well...

  • Jason (unverified)


    Thanks for your response.

    I had a conversation with Telfer about this issue before the 66/67 election. Honestly, I don't know enough about the intricacies of the state budget (without doing some research) to formulate an educated opinion one way or the other. On the surface, Telfer's ideas seem to have merit and I believe her intentions are pure.

    I've known Telfer for many years. She's not an ideologue, and is the furthest thing from a tea-bagger. As a CPA, she naturally questions every nuance of financing and budgeting. I've sat on a board with her, and have seen this for myself. She governed the same way while she was a city councilor in Bend.

    <h2>At the end of the day, maybe her ideas have no merit. But at least she asked the questions and tried to pursue ways to find efficiencies, and raise revenue without increasing taxes.</h2>

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