11/4/08

Out-of-state union cash subdues Oregon voters

Related story: "The 28 labor-states"

Fat-cat, partisan labor-state government unions look out for #1

Public employee unions have spent more than $15 million on Oregon's statewide ballot measures this fall, supplying the money for a flurry of fliers and TV ads about those proposals.

Unions have donated the money in large chunks. Of 48 contributions of $100,000 or more made to Oregon candidate and measure campaigns since the May primary, 30 have been union contributions to an effort to defeat most of the Nov. 4 measures.

Most of the large contributions have gone to the Defend Oregon coalition and its related committees. That includes $7.7 million from the 48,000-member teachers union, the Oregon Education Association, and its parent organization.

With contributions of $100,000 or more totalling $16 million, $12.7 million of that went to the union-led coalition. The coalition opposes five initiatives placed on the ballot by prolific initiative author Bill Sizemore, and it also is fighting two other proposals from Kevin Mannix, a Salem attorney and former legislator. The coalition's Don't Silence Our Voice PAC opposes Sizemore's Measure 64, which would prohibit the use of public resources for political purposes, including public employee unions' collection of political action money via payroll deduction.

Ten of the large contributions since May came from Loren Parks, totalling $1.8 million. Parks is the owner of a medical equipment company in Aloha who moved to Nevada in 2002, and he paid for nearly all of the signature-gathering that placed the Sizemore and Mannix measures on the ballot. He also has supplied nearly all of the money for the campaigns for those measures, including the Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, which supports the Mannix proposals.

The 10 largest campaign contributions reported to the state Elections Division since May are:

1. Oregon Education Association, $2.1 million to Defend Oregon, Sept. 26.
2. Oregon Education Association, $2 million to Defend Oregon, Aug. 8.
3. National Education Association, $1.5 million to Defend Oregon, Oct. 21.
4. National Education Association, $1 million to Defend Oregon, Oct. 15.
5. Oregon Education Association, $1 million to Defend Oregon, Oct. 20.
6. Oregon Nurses Association, $500,000 to Don't Silence Our Voice, Sept. 10.
7. Loren Parks, $500,000 to Oregon Anti-Crime Alliance, Sept. 15.
8. Service Employees International Union, $500,000 to Defend Oregon, Aug. 28.
9. Service Employees International Union, $455,000 to Defend Oregon, June 2.
10. Service Employees International Union, $400,000 to Defend Oregon, Oct. 22.

(oregonlive.com)

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