Oregon’s Wealthiest Man Has Caused Tina Kotek to Take Contribution Limits Seriously—or at Least Claim She Does

Tina Kotek, the Democratic nominee locked in a dead heat in the Oregon governor’s race, took time out from campaigning Oct. 10 to hold a “roundtable on campaign finance reform.” The event was occasioned by Nike co-founder Phil Knight writing Kotek’s Republican opponent, Christine Drazan, a check for $1 million on Oct. 6.

“Oregon is in danger of flipping red due to the influx of large donations from billionaires and corporate special interests looking to influence the election,” Kotek’s campaign wrote in an email publicizing the roundtable.

There’s some irony in Kotek’s newfound interest in limiting campaign contributions.

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Kotek pledges support for campaign finance limits, will accept big checks to get elected – Oregon Capital Chronicle

Democrat Tina Kotek pledged Monday to make capping campaign contributions one of her top priorities if she’s elected governor – but she won’t turn down large campaign checks. 

Kotek, Republican Christine Drazan and nonaffiliated candidate Betsy Johnson last week surpassed the $40 million fundraising record set by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown and Republican nominee Knute Buehler in 2018. The three have raised more than $42 million combined since January 2021, buoyed by large checks from national Democratic and Republican groups, labor unions, businesses and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has personally spent $6.75 million this year to boost Johnson, Drazan and Republicans running for the Oregon Legislature.  

During a Portland town hall with campaign finance reform advocates Monday morning, Kotek criticized the state’s lack of campaign finance limits, and particularly how they allow Oregon’s wealthiest man to single-handedly spend millions on campaigns.

She’s calling to limit individual contributors to $2,000 for statewide races and $1,000 for legislative races in future elections, but she said she wouldn’t refuse a $1 million check from an individual.

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Democratic Oregon governor candidate Tina Kotek highlights support for contribution limits

Democratic candidate for Oregon governor Tina Kotek on Monday pledged to make contribution limits a top priority if voters elect her, citing the ongoing role of large donations in state races.

“We’re going to put this at the top of the list,” Kotek said at a roundtable with campaign finance advocates. “The Legislature will pass limits and if they don’t, we’re at the ballot.”

Kotek and the campaign finance reform advocates pointed to the outsize role of Nike co-founder Phil Knight, who has spent $6.9 million in the last year supporting a Republican effort to win more seats in the Oregon Legislature and unaffiliated governor candidate Betsy Johnson, a former longtime Democratic lawmaker who voted with Republicans against gun and environmental regulations.

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KVAL News Interview with Mike Beilstein

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League of Women Voters Video Guide - David Delk

League of Women Voters Video Guide Interview with David Delk

I support this statement by Physicians For A National Health Program:  "We propose to replace the ACA with a publicly financed National Health Program that would fully cover medical care for all Americans, while lowering costs by eliminating the profit driven private insurance industry with its massive overhead."

Responses to Oregon League of Women Voter's questionnaire

What do you think an improved tax system should look like?

An improved tax system would have an increase in the highest tax bracket to over 60%; it would include a/an:
*effective estate tax;
*increased tax on capital gains to be equal to that for taxes on wages;
*excess profits tax on war profits to discourage individuals and corporations from seeking material gain from war making;
*financial transactions tax to discourage short term speculative investing and to raise revenues;
*automatic calculation of tax returns for majority of taxpayer.

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Eugene Register-Guard Candidate Profile of Mike Beilstein

Election 2022: 5 candidates running for DeFazio's open seat in U.S. House District 4

Adam Duvernay, Register-Guard
October 5, 2022·9 min read

Mike Beilstein

Mike Beilstein, running on the Pacific Green Party of Oregon and Oregon Progressive Party tickets, is a retired chemist and was a nutrition researcher at Oregon State University for 30 years. He formerly served on the Corvallis City Council.

This is his sixth bid for the 4th District seat, though his first time in a contest for the seat that doesn't include DeFazio.

Beilstein said he primarily is an anti-militarist, having begun his political career in response to the 1990-91 Gulf War.  Beilstein believes the Russian invasion of Ukraine was provoked by the United States and its allies. He believes Russia is committing war crimes there, but opposes sending weapons to Ukraine and supports negotiations to end the conflict.

"I would insist that the United States support negotiations to end the fighting," he said. "This is clearly a proxy war."

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The best archive of Campaign Finance Reform history in Oregon

Honest-Elections is a coalition of fantastic folk representing organizations like the Pacific Green Party, Progressive Party, Independent Party, the Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party, Common Cause, OSPIRG, League of Women Voters, Portland Forward, COIN/Indivisible and individuals committed to ending the undue influence of money in elections.

We are aiming to have a petition drive in 2024 to ensure that Oregon has

1)  Proper Limits on money flowing in and flowing out of campaigns

2)  Disclosure of the real donors of "Independent Expenditures" (political ads, so called "Dark-Money")

3)  Matching public financing of campaigns

Please contact the coalition to get your organization involved and at the table.

Eugene Register-Guard Candidate Profile of Dan Pulju

U.S. Senate race: Republican, minor party candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Wyden

Adam Duvernay, Register-Guard
October 2, 2022·9 min read

Dan Pulju, a 51-year-old poll interviewer from Eugene, is running for the U.S. Senate on the Pacific Green Party ticket.

As a minor-party candidate with about $1,000 in total donations to his campaign, Pulju said he doesn't expect to win the race but is hopeful even moderate success will help Oregonians move toward leaving behind the two-party system.

"The win is to get a significant percentage of the vote that gets people actually interested in believing that they can win. There's a psychological problem among American voters where they feel like they have no choice but to vote for one of the two major parties," Pulju said. "I'm trying to get 5% this year. Maybe someone gets 7% or 10% next year."

See also:

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Leading voices in Campaign Finance Reform

The last attempt at Campaign Finance Reform through the Legislature in Oregon was led by two of the most ethical and inspiring legislators I have met:  Andrea Salinas, now running for US District, and Jeff Golden, who is coming under fierce challenge financed by a lot of money.

It is no coincidence that so much money is being poured in Oregon to buy elections.  That our elections have become a marketing contest is death to Democracy.  This is especially problematic since the rates of literacy in the US has continued to decline:  54% of adults in the US as functionally or marginally illiterate.  Meaning they cannot read long words, comprehend paragraphs or tables.  This is a serious problem for the competitivity of the US and Democracy at large.

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Candidate Slate focused on Campaign Finance Reform and Antiwar messaging

The Pacific Green Party nominated the top of its ticket, with candidates focused on Campaign Finance Reform and Antiwar positions.

At the 1st Nominating Convention held June 4th 2022, Pacific Green Party members nominated the top of the ticket with candidates focused on campaign finance reform and antiwar messages.

“The amount of money flooding elections this year in Oregon has become obscene and absurd” said candidate for Governor Nathalie Paravicini, ND.  “Oregon is one of only 11 states with no campaign finance limits, even though 82% of Oregonians voted in favor of a constitutional amendment allowing for campaign limits in 2020; so far every effort has been defeated by insiders.  No wonder experts say this year's governor's race will be the most expensive in history.  I am running for governor to offer voters an alternative to the major candidates who are all feeding from the same trough of big money."

In addition to Paravicini, the Green Party nominated Dan Pulju for US Senate and Mike Beilstein for Congressional District 4.  Both candidates are motivated by the disproportionate spending on the military industrial complex and the great harm done not only to people in Yemen or Ukraine, but also in the fight to address the looming crisis of Climate change.

“The USA spends more on the military than the next 10 countries combined, but is unable to provide basic healthcare, nutrition, housing and educational support for its people.  It is also failing to invest in the infrastructure improvements needed to address the ongoing climate disaster,” says Beilstein, who was a Corvallis City Councilor for 12 years.

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