Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Protect Our Voice responds to comments made at LO

As noted yesterday here at LO, we've changed the commenting options for the time being in an effort to investigate what might be some paid GOP trolling.

I feared that this might create issues for others attempting to comment. And so it has.

In comments to this post, commentor Jefferson claims that they (meaning the M46/47 backers) have audited the books for Protect Our Voice. Jefferson further claims that Protect Our Voice is being funded "entirely" by:

Associated Oregon Industries 25,000
Associated Oregon Loggers 10,000
AFSCME 40,000
Oregon Health Care Assn 30,000
Oregon Local Grocery Assn 50,000
OSEA Seed Fund (public employees) 5,000
SEIU Local 503 45,000
Oregon Forest Industry Council 25,000
Oregon Restaurant Assn 25,000
Association of Builders & Contractors 2,000
Association of General Contractors 15,000
Oregon Assoc Realtors 25,000
Oregon Committee for Food and Shelter 10,000

(The comment is dated 10/24/06 5:20 PM--I don't have a link)

I was suspicious of Jefferson's claims when he made them because I reviewed the Contribution and Expenditure report for POV from early October and none of those groups appear on the report. But I had no proof that the claims Jefferson was making were false, until now.

The spokesperson for Protect Our Voice, Damiana Merryweather, emailed last evening in frustration unable to post comments. For some reason, she's still having trouble. So Merryweather emailed her response. Here it is:

"Jefferson said.

"We've discovered the contributing entities behind the "Protect Our Voices"
campaign (aka "No On 46 and 47")..."

then he goes on to list ten corporate and business interests who he claims
have funded Protect Our Voice.

As the spokesperson for Protect Our Voice I can tell you that statement is
completely false. Protect Our Voice is a progressive coalition of
politically active non-profits and labor organizations. We have not
accepted money, nor will we, from groups such as ORA and AOI.

Not only is Jefferson completely wrong about his information, I am beginning
to suspect that he isn't really our third president posting from the grave

I don't expect the pro-46/47 folks to take Damiana at her word. Its evident to me that to the pro-46/47 forces, anyone who opposes these proposals is either downright evil or under the brainwashed spell of the evildoers.

So to back up Damiana's point, I give you 46/47's own Dan Meek. Who sent out a press release yesterday (the bolded part is my emphasis, not Dan's):

October 24, 2006


Supporters of Measures 46 and 47, the campaign finance reform measures,
have learned that a new political committee, organized to oppose the
measures, has been funded to the tune of over $330,000. Of that, about
two-thirds came from corporate interests, including:

Associated Oregon Industries
(corporations of all types)

Associated Oregon Loggers

Oregon Health Care Assn (nursing homes)

Oregon Local Grocery Assn

Oregon Forest Industry Council

Oregon Restaurant Assn

Association of Builders & Contractors

Association of General Contractors

Oregon Assn Realtors

Oregon Committee for Food and Shelter (agribusiness corporations)

The new committee is known as the "If You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'll
Never Get it Back Committee."
The rest of its funds come from unions.

"It figures that the corporations would spend heavily against the campaign
finance reform measures, since they provide the vast bulk of the campaign
contributions to Oregon politicians," said Dan Meek. "Campaign spending in
Oregon is completely out of control -- literally. Oregon has no limits on
contributions or spending."

The amount of money spent in Oregon political campaigns will be higher than
$50 million this year. Corporations outspend unions by 5-1 and everyone else
by 100's to one. One candidate for Governor this year will easily spend over
$6 million on his campaign, while the other one will spend over $4 million,
if not more. It now costs over $500,000 to win a contested race for the
State Senate and over $250,000 to win a contested race for the State Senate,
both about $20 per vote.

Fairelections Oregon <

Daniel Meek, attorney

(503) 293-9021

(503) 913-7105 cell

FairElections Oregon

Eugene Office

(541) 338-8557

Now while I'm willing to grant that "Protect Our Voice" and "If You Lose Your Voice This Time, You'll Never Get it Back Committee" both have the word "voice" in their title, they're pretty clearly not the same title.

And its evident that they're not the same group, either.

Here is the SOS info on "If You Lose Your Voice...".

Here in the SOS info on "Protect Our Voice". And here is the C&E report for Protect Our Voice, dated October 1, 2006. None of the groups that Jefferson listed are on the documents. As I understand it, new filings with the SOS' office are due next week. So we can check again then to see who is funding POV.

Jefferson claimed that "they" audited POV's books to get the funding information. But that doesn't seem likely, given that Jefferson is conflating the two organizations. The C&Es for "If You Lose Your Voice.." aren't available yet on the SOS' website, as they just filed yesterday. I'm not sure how long it takes from the filing date for the SOS to get the PDFs up, but I'll keep checking.