HD-26: The latest example of Matt Wingard's dearth of basic ethics - paying himself for campaign work

Carla Axtman

There are some people in this world that either have no idea how to do the right thing--or sincerely aren't interested in it. Perhaps some have measures of both. One of the people that seems to fit these descriptions is State Representative Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville).

Wingard's personal woes are well documented and I'm not going to rehash them here. Wingard went on to lie about at least some of what took place but was forced to back off of that when the pressure was on. But its clear those poor decisions are not simply contained to his private life.

In February, Kari wrote about the fact that Wingard plagiarized an anti-global climate change speech that he gave on the floor of the Oregon House. Wingard ripped off all but a sentence from a Washington Times article. The Times is a rag of right-wing hackery that may or may not have cared, but nevertheless it was blatant theft.

This is a guy who really doesn't much give a crap about ethical (and probably legal) standards.

Wingard owns a business (and there are no employees outside of Wingard, according to City of Wilsonville records) called Beambo Inc. The Oregon Secretary of State's Corporate Division has Beambo registered with Matt Wingard..No other person is listed as a part of this business. Beambo's business address also happens to be the same as the home address for Wingard listed with the Secretary of State's office.

A transaction dated October 10, 2010 from Wingard's campaign account shows a payment made to Beambo, Inc for $1450. The payment is listed as compensation for "distribution of literature". Given that there's nobody else that works for Beambo besides Wingard, he seems to have decided to pay himself $1450 to distribute his own campaign literature.

There is also a weird reimbursement for $500 either to the campaign or to Beambo on December 10, 2009--I can't figure that one out.

The Oregon Campaign Finance Manual is clear on this: candidates may not pay themselves a salary or otherwise compensate themselves for lost income or for professional services rendered to their committees. (see page 32)

I'd say that Wingard has some explaining to do--but frankly, I can't believe anything that comes out of that guy's mouth.

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    The payment is listed as compensation for "distribution of literature". Given that there's nobody else that works for Beambo besides Wingard, he seems to have decided to pay himself $1450 to distribute his own campaign literature.

    Couldn't Beambo have hired some independent contractors to distribute the literature? Just b/c you have no employees doesn't mean you may not have people working for you from time to time.

    Of course, he could have paid himself to do it, I don't know. Just sayin...

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      Michael: Why funnel the $ through Beambo? That makes no sense..especially knowing the rules.

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        wouldn't it have to be essentially in-kind anyway? If Beambo charged Wingard the market rate for those services, that would assume a profit for the company after expenses...which would still be paying himself, wouldn't it? Not the money he paid the theoretical contractors, but that which he retained for the business--of which there would be some, if he charged market rates.

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        I don't know anything about the rules, other than what you posted here. THat being said...

        He didn't compensate himself, he compensated a corporation, Beambo. They are separate legal entities. (I would assume the rules address this very situation, but you'll have to inform me on that)

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    The rules, as I understand them, are very clear. You cannot compensate yourself in any way for campaign work.

    If I ran for office, I could not hire my company - a corporation - to build my website. (Ironic, eh?)

    I could, of course, do it as a volunteer for myself. Which is what Wingard should be doing. (That's what everyone else is doing.)

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      If it was for distribution of literature, it sounds like it is reimbursement for a fixed cost, not compensation for a service that Wingard performed.

      For example, most agencies charge a media placement fee % on top of media they place. If he didn't charge a fee but only had his campaign reimburse for postage charged to his company, then he wasn't compensated personally.

      I've run online campaigns for friends through my own Facebook and Google Ad Words accounts. If I place $500 in ads and my friend reimburses me $500 for the media placement cost, I am not being compensated personally, only reimbursed for my outlay.

      I don't know what "distribution" means in this instance, but fixed cost is what jumped into my head.

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