Oregon’s House Majority Leader, Democrat Jennifer Williamson has collected $159,060 in campaign donations as of Sept. 21, 2018 in advance of the Nov. 6 election, according to the Oregon Secretary of State.
Her opponent? Nobody.
A Center for Public Integrity analysis of National Institute on Money in Politics data shows that Williamson is one of at least 26 legislative leaders in statehouses across America who are raking in cash despite running unopposed this year.
“The safe legislators represent an attractive prospect for statehouse lobbyists and power-seekers: the sure bet,” the Center reported. “Contributions to these influential politicians can buy face time and favor with those who set state legislative agendas, experts say. The money also compounds their power: Legislative leaders use their pots of gold to buy presents to thank supporters, for example, or give to fellow lawmakers’ campaigns to reward them for voting with their party.”
Williamson’s larger contributors include:
- United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, AFL-CIO, CLC – $10,000
- Service Employees International Union Local 49 Committee on Political Education (4213) – $6,500
- Oregon Nurses Political Action Committee – $6,000
- Oregon Hospital Political Action Committee – $5,000
- Oregon Beverage PAC – $6,000
- Citizen Action for Political Education (33) – $5,250
- Oregon PERS Retirees PAC – $2,500
- Oregon Trial Lawyers Association PAC – $5,000
- Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – $5,000
- Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde – $3,000
- Joint Council of Teamsters No. 37 Political Fund (80) – $5,000
How has Williamson been spending all that money?
The biggest chunk, $70,550.00 of $144,531.45 in total expenditures, went to Future PAC, House Builders. That’s the campaign arm of the Oregon House Democrats. In other words, Williamson’s committee simply served as a conduit to fund Future PAC.
Baily Dahlke, a Legislative Assistant in the House Democratic Office, was paid $5,743.18. Aer Lingus was paid $2,080.70 and Alaska Airlines $2,491.66. Lyft got $260.97 and Uber $273.16. Another $645.00 went to Dutch Bros. Several Democratic candidates got small amounts and a lot of the rest simply went to miscellaneous expenditures.
You can be sure more eager, opportunistic contributors will come forward before the election in hopes their early display of support will pay off and cement their relationship with a politician and a party they can count on.