HD-37: The unraveling of Julie Parrish

Carla Axtman

I suppose it's no surprise that I'm not a fan of Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). From her bizarre @HotCouponMama Twitter stream to her off-the-cuff missives on the OregonLive comments section, Parrish's grating sensibility is not what I'd want in my state rep.

We can agree to disagree on style. Maybe Parrish's constituents are into having their state rep post strident gobbledegook online. But the robocall/voter suppression activity with the aptly named Tim Trickey is completely out of bounds for someone who's allegedly elected to represent the people of her district. And honestly, the story doesn't smell right at all.

How is it Trickey "mistakenly" told people that it wasn't Parrish who was responsible for the voter suppression calls, but a business group did it? Seems as if Trickey has indeed learned a few things from being Bill Sizemore's acolyte. Parrish's claims of the need for "data integrity" are ludicrous. Calling people to tell them that their voter status was listed as deactivated--many of whom had current and active registration, is just compounding the lie. Stop it already.

Robocalls are illegal in Oregon--and Parrish's feigned ignorance on the matter is no excuse for participating in illegal activity. On Friday, Our Oregon filed a complaint with the Oregon Attorney General, asking for a thorough investigation of the matter.

At the very least, Parrish should be censured for this activity. This has nothing to do with constituent outreach. This is about a deliberate attempt to mislead and confuse voters.

Parrish's inability to be up front and honest doesn't end there. As T.a. Barnhart wrote earlier this week, Parrish took a campaign contribution from the notorious Koch brothers--and later attempted to whitewash the campaign finance database to hide the contribution.

If you're going to take money from the Koch brothers, be loud and proud about it, Julie. Don't hide your light under a bushel. Not only is it deceitful--your constituents deserve to know who is paying your way. And to whom you owe your allegiance.

Oh yes, and if you'd like to see the House cleaned up after this malfeasance, throw your vocal and financial support to Parrish's opponent, Carl Hosticka.

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    That Oregon electorate would be far worse off without Blue Oregon. I honestly don't know what we did without it. Great piece Carla.

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      Both in the primary and the general election, WW also endorsed the most conservative candidate.

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      WW fears that OEA controls state government. There were multiple questions on that in my 1996 candidate interview with them, and I've seen references to the concern in their endorsements ever since. Why they think Hosticka is an OEA pawn, I don't know.

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    It is not clear whether or not political robocalls are illegal in Oregon. Although it is true that the legislature passed Mike Schaufler's bill (SB 863) intended to restrict political robocalls in 2007, and it is also true that the AG under John Kroger sent letters to some groups threatening them with prosecution if they conducted political robocalls, it is also true that the AG has declined to prosecute any instances of political robocalling since the statute was passed (including by Hillary Clinton, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator John McCain and others) because there is a belief within the agency that the statute is not constitutional under Article I, Section 8 of the Oregon Constitution. Also, even if it were true that the statute is enforceable, it is not clear whether these calls were made "sequentially" or at "random". If not, then there is no violation of the statute.

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    Carla there are sometimes we share they same issues but on this one I would disagree!!!! Future is spending at over 150,000 to through at Julie---every year for some ungod reason they want that seat even if they told bold lies against her. As a Democrat I support her because she not straight Party line and even her own Caucus are having disagreements.She has a lot of Democrats behind her like Darlene Hooley, Martha Schrader and a few others. I think when people write articles they never consult her on these issues!!! she would answer them truthfully but respectfully and for the record Jeff Mapes did not report the detailed story like he should've have.

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      I speak only for myself here, but I respectfully believe Carl is a way better candidate. Here is some of my reasoning, feel free to disagree:


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      I haven't cited Future PAC in any of this, Tena. Julie has admitted participating in the calls. And it's apparent that the Koch's gave her money and she tried to hide it.

      I think the way both of these things were handled by her are dishonest.

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    I'm still trying to figure out how, in a state with vote-by-mail, robo-calling people to tell them they are not registered would suppress the vote.

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      I wholeheartedly agree with Carla. And after living in the south for the last 10 years, I have seen firsthand the effective attempts at confusion with certain voting blocks via subtle but inaccurate information.

      There are demographic segments of registered voters that are more likely to get that call and have it cause enough confusion that they may not send in a ballot for fear that they are violating election law.

      I don't think I quite understood the magnitude of this kind of high-jinx until I moved out of Oregon and to an area where such tricks are commonplace and occur each cycle.

      Heck, the R's in South Carolina paid an unemployed sex offender by the name of Al Green to file as a candidate in order to thwart a more serious potential challenger to DeMint. They actually managed to give him cash to file for office, knowing that the large voting blocks of african americans would have name ID because of the famed singer of the same name.

      If you look at the counties & precincts that carried the 'other' Al Green to victory in that primary, you will see that large numbers of voters switched from R to D so they could push Green to victory. And it was all done quite nicely under the radar screen.

      It is pretty clear Parrish was playing from a similar playbook. Otherwise, why waste voter contact money on a message that would protect a VERY small number of votes. Her intent was to encourage a larger number to not send in a ballot. Maybe she should be running in South Carolina or Georgia!

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        This is really a stretch. It is particularly hard to believe since we got one of the calls at my house, where all the registered voters are Republicans. But my mother, who hasn't voted in years due to advanced alzheimers, fit the description of the people they say they were targeting.

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          I was at church "forum" gathering that has various kinds of discussions and two couples there had gotten these calls. Both were early 60s-ish age.

          They were active voters and were reasonably confident that they were in fact registered but felt constrained to check. It was a hassle and a waste of their time and at minimum rude. If they had been less engaged, had less time, or knew less about navigating the system it would have been more of one, perhaps to the point of discouragement.

          It also was a cause of anxiety and suspicion as we talked about it. It is disruptive of the democratic process. It is stupid.

          It also appears to have been incompetent or deliberately provocative. The claim that they all were meant to go to inactive voters runs up against the basic fact that many, many active voters got them, checked their registration, and found out that they were indeed registered as active just as they expected. This dimension in particular remains murky to me.

          It does not seem to have been voter suppression targeted at a particular demographic (I wonder about age) or party. But it is pretty well recognized that in general Republicans favor fewer voters and smaller electorates and many think it is justified to prevent many eligible voters from voting to prevent one or two ineligible ones from doing so. So it is not hard for me to imagine a motive just to sow confusion and lower general turnout.

          But I have no evidence of that. On the other hand there is no sensible explanation for the activity in the manner it was carried out.

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    Even if our system makes it less likely to successfully intimidate a voter, is it less unethical to try? It would be of value to her corporate backers to know how successful this tactic is here, so Rep. Parrish could benefit from unethical tactics regardless of success.

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    Another Julie Parrish secret contribution. I just received the "Oregon Women's Voters Guide 2012", which masquerades as a non partisan guide to voting. Actually, it comes from the Oregon Transformation Project, which is almost 80% funded by Simpson Lumber and previously known as the Conservative Majority Project. Julie Parrish has received not only the endorsement of this mock bipartisan group but also has received at least $10,000 in campaign contributions from them. The pamphlet is very impressive. It includes endorsements of some Dems who are already sure to win as a way to enhance its nonpartisan appearance. It will certainly sway some votes from naive people who receive it.

    As we send thousands of volunteers out into the field to campaign for our candidates in an open election, they are being undermined by this type of slick partisan document disguised as meaningful information.

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    Carl is a sensible fellow and we will be supporting him.

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