How one lawmaker uses campaign money to subsidize his mortgage, pay his bar tabs and explore Canada

Willamette Week:

The filing for Rep. Mike Schaufler (D-Happy Valley) included one unusual disclosure—a trip to northern Alberta paid for in part by Shell Oil. Records show Shell Oil picked up the tab for Schaufler to inspect the Canadian tar sands, a prolific source of crude oil...

Schlaufler’s profligate use of campaign funds for a wide variety of expenses—all of them seemingly legal—suggests that Oregon’s highly touted 2007 ethics law, which aimed at curbing lobbyists’ spending on lawmakers, was at best a half measure. Although the 2007 reform made it harder to give pricey gifts to lawmakers, it didn’t bar gifts disguised as campaign contributions...

“These kind of expenditures shows that all the commotion about Oregon’s ethics laws is irrelevant,” says Dan Meek, a public interest lawyer who authored two 2006 campaign finance reforms. “Any gifts the ethics law prohibits can be given in the form of campaign contributions.”

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