A river of money is flowing into the Democratic primary race in Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District.
“Who’s buying Congress this week?”, Primary School, a site that follows the financing of primary races, asked on May 5.
It answered its own question, revealing independent expenditures made by outside groups in congressional races using data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
A standout is the activity of dark-money political action committee (PAC) Center Forward in support of Congressman Kurt Schrader.
“America is neither right nor left. Republican nor Democrat. Red nor blue.,” the PAC says in its Our Mission statement. “The mainstream values and principles that will move us forward come from where they always have – the center. The center is where we leave our political labels and baggage at the door, to find commonsense solutions to America’s great challenges.”
Center Forward put $650,000 into television ads attacking Jamie McLeod-Skinner, bringing the PAC’s total spending on pro-Schrader/anti McLeod-Skinner efforts to $1.04M.
Critics says Center Forward is heavily funded by the pharmaceutical industry and concentrates on obstructing efforts to rein in the pharmaceutical industry.
According to The American Prospect, an online and print magazine “dedicated to American liberalism and progressivism,” not long ago the PAC “…kicked off an ad blitz championing six Democratic House members, nearly all of whom went on to lead the charge to undermine Democrats’ flagship drug pricing reform bill,… while also jeopardizing the Biden agenda bill being considered under budget reconciliation.” One of those six House members was Kurt Schrader.
Center Forward, as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, doesn’t have to publicly disclose its donors. However, a review by Sludge, which investigates money in politics, concluded that a significant portion of its funding in recent years has come from a drug company lobbying group the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).
Schrader’s close ties to the industry are a primary attack point for McLeod-Skinner. “Kurt Schrader claims he’s fighting to get big money out of politics. I’m calling on Schrader to stand by his word and tell his Big Pharma donors to take these ads down,” Jamie McLeod-Skinner told Sludge.