Big campaign donations are evil, says Senator Ron Wyden, but keep them coming



Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)  is running for-reelection. So he’s hitting up his constituents.

“Sign the petition calling for affordable housing solutions,” his email said on Sunday. “We need more affordable housing and we need it now. I’ve proposed new legislation to encourage, support, and accelerate the construction of affordable housing nationwide.”

And if you sign the petition, he asks for money, with choices ranging from $5 to $500 or more.

If you sign the petition, you also get a thank you message and another request for money, this time with choices of $7, $24, $36 or $125.

All these appeals from a Senator who, according to,  had $7,557,657 of campaign contributions in the bank as of his last fundraising report on June 30. In comparison, his Republican opponent in this 2016 Senate race, Mark Callahan, had a measly $4,546 on hand.

And just 27 percent of the money Wyden has raised for his current race has come from donors within Oregon, with 73 percent ($5,420,369) coming from out of state.

In the meantime, while asserting that big donors undermine democracy, Wyden has been pulling in money from big donors big time.

Over the past six years, the biggest donors have been some really big players, like Nike Inc., Intel Corp., and Berkshire Hathaway.


If you think about it, why does Wyden, who’s 67, need such a big war chest? If he’s re-elected, as he likely will be, he’ll be 73 at the end of his next term and will have spent 42 years in Congress. Won’t that be enough?

If Wyden truly believes there’s too much money corrupting politics, with big donors of particular concern, why not take a break from fundraising? A lot of us would welcome the time-out.

(Good grief. I just got one more email fundraising plea from Wyden. This time, he’s asking me to contribute $25, $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 or more. Will the next plea be for $10,000 or more?)

Donations to Senator Ron Wyden 2011-2016 (Source:

These numbers don’t reflect donations from organizations themselves, but from the organizations’ PACs, their individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.

Rank Contributor Total
1 Nike Inc. $124,222
2 Blue Cross/Blue Shield $105,900
3 League of Cons. Voters $75,012
4 Intel Corp. $74,307
5 Akin, Gump et al $70,155
6 Berkshire Hathaway $57,900
7 DaVita HealthCare Partners $50,750
8 Metlife Inc. $48,507
9 DLA Piper $43,700
10 King & Spalding $42,560