Pay-to-Play Politics

High Importance: Pay-to-Play Politics

It's called pay to play. It means career politicians taking huge campaign donations to fund their campaigns – and then doing huge favors for their campaign contributors. In the end, we pay the tab, like in Measure 97, and working families are stuck with the trickle down costs to the tune of $600 per household.

Consider this before you vote:

  • Kate Brown took $10,000 in Comcast contributions. And then backed the Comcast-Time-Warner merger in a letter written by a Comcast lobbyist.
  • Brown took hundreds of thousands from out-of-state ethanol producers and big utilities.
  • And hundreds of thousands from out-of-state billionaires and special interests funded her campaign this fall, and Oregon unions, so it's no surprise she's supporting Measure 97.

You can read about Kate Brown's “Pay to Play” practices in the report my campaign has just released. It provides several examples relating to transportation gridlock, Comcast, and out of donors involved in the Kitzhaber/Hayes scandal. However, what is frustrating is how much Oregon families will pay.

Government employee unions have been primary donors for Brown's campaign, offering her hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions. What will they get in return? A governor who is gridlocked when it comes to solving the looming PERS crisis.

Ultimately, this means teachers cuts in the classroom and cuts to other critical services because she lacks vision and guts to prioritize regular Oregonians over her campaign contributors. There's no question why Brown supports the $6-billion tax increase (Measure 97) her donors put on the November ballot – a tax on sales that state economists say will cost a typical family $600 more a year for goods and services. We bear the burden of closing the budget deficit.

It's called pay to play, meaning They play, you pay.

I'm running because I want to end this. My budget proposal includes tax cuts for low- and moderate-income families, eliminates tax credits for the well-connected and limits tax deductions for the wealthy. And I've promised to do what Brown refuses to do: take up PERS reform in the next legislature to stave off cuts to the classroom and police and fire. I will also fight traffic gridlock with a transportation package ending Brown's 19-cents-a-gallon hidden gas tax.

It's time we put the values of hard working everyday Oregonians front and center of the policies of Salem—join me to move Oregon forward. Kate Brown and her special interests need to do their fair share, rather than taking money from hard working Oregonians.

Willamette Week

Comcast Pay to Play

As Secretary of State, Kate Brown took $10,000 in Comcast contributions. And then endorsed the Comcast-Time-Warner merger in a letter written by a Comcast lobbyist. i Willamette Week

The Oregonian

Comcast ghost-wrote politicians' letters supporting Time-Warner deal, including one from Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown. ii The Oregonian

“Estimates showed the program could raise gas prices by four to 19 cents a gallon over 10 years.” iii The Oregonian

Kate Brown puts transportation funding off until 2017 — but wants minimum wage hike in 2016. iv The Oregonian

The Oregonian

Tom Steyer's carbon regulation win in Oregon. v Washington Examiner

The Free Beacon

“The controversy centers on Gov. John Kitzhaber's fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. She was paid $118,000 by the Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC) to advocate for environmentalist policies in Oregon. Hayes never disclosed those payments, despite acting as an informal adviser to the governor as he pushed a low-carbon fuel standard for the state. Dan Carol, then a strategic adviser to CEDC, helped Hayes land the position. He was given a $165,000-per-year job in the Kitzhaber administration.” vi The Free Beacon

Washington Examiner

“Documents obtained recently through a public records request indicate Brown spoke with Steyer by phone on June 16. In her handwritten notes from the call with Steyer, Brown wrote that the low carbon fuel standard was "very important in terms of lobbying/campaigns." vii Washington Examiner

“The Los Angeles Times has reported that billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer will be part of the group traveling to Paris…”  viii East Oregonian

“Top advisers to the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer helped run a green group, financed in part by Steyer himself, that is at the center of a corruption scandal that could force the Democratic governor of Oregon to resign.” ix The Free Beacon

“[T]he governor's office directed the commissioners, whose primary charge is protecting consumer interests, not to share any of its feedback publicly.” x The Oregonian


Idaho Power Company $10,000

Gregg Kantor: $1,500

Pacific Ethanol Inc $2,500

Avangrid: $10,000

Covanta Projects $1,250

Invenergy -- $2,500

Oregon SolarPAC (17997) $1,000

Northwest Energy Efficiency Council $2,500

Natural Gas Political Action Committee (102) $5,000

Oregon League of Conservation Voters PAC (2352) $5,000

HDR Inc.

This increased PIP the additional cost of this new requirement comes to at least $121 per year for an Oregon family.

As Willamette Week reported above, trials lawyers are one of the groups that Brown has curried favor with and tapped for campaign funds over the course of her career. Their former lobbyist also happens to be Brown's current chief of staff.

OHSU Payment to Private Insurance Company MODA

OHSU props up money-losing Moda with secret, unsecured $50 million loan xi The Oregonian


Anti-gun New York Billionaire Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg drops $250K to back governor who signed gun law expansion.

“Now, just two months after directing the state police to track and analyze gun transactions, while urging Congress to ban assault weapons and enact no fly/no buy legislation, Brown has picked up a $250,000 donation from Bloomberg.”xii


Brown's Support for Government Employee Union's $6-Billion Tax Increase

Governor Brown supports the $6 billion tax increase that her political allies in Oregon's government union leadership and “Our Oregon” put on the November 2016 ballot. Their Measure 97 tax on Oregon sales is the biggest tax increase in Oregon history.

The state's non-partisan Legislative Revenue Offices estimates that Oregonians will pay an average of $600 dollars more for goods and services under Measure 97 and that this tax increase will eliminate more than 38,000 private-sector jobs.

As Willamette Week reported above, Oregon's public employee unions are another one of the groups that Brown has curried favor with and tapped for campaign funds over the course of her career. Their former lobbyists (Lindsay Capps, BethAnne Darby, for example) fill the Brown administration.

Brown's Refusal to Address Looming PERS Crisis

In 1999, Kate Brown voted against PERS reform

In 2003, Kate Brown voted against PERS reform

Today faces at $2.3 billion PERS shortfall over the next 3 state budgets that will drive up PERS employer rates and force school districts, the state and local governments to cut teachers, staff and services if it goes unaddressed. Employer PERS rates will skyrocket by almost $1 billion in each of the next three budgets. Brown has refused to bring stakeholders together to even talk about a solution.

Brown's position is indistinguishable from the public employee union leadership.

Brown's past opposition to PERS reform has contributed to the PERS problem we face today. Her current opposition to addressing the PERS problem will cripple Oregon in the short-term and long-term.


Citizen Action for Political Education (33) $105,000

Oregon Nurses Political Action Committee (12986) $43,500

Oregon Education Association - People for Improvement of Education $100,000

Service Employees Int'L Union Committee on Political Education (4213) $25,000

AFSCME $125,000

Amalgamated Transit Union 757 Political Fund (3094) $10,000