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Defense fund for “Oregon 13” is broke
Fund to support disqualified Republican State Senators is -$60k in the hole
In less than three months since its launch, a legal defense fund to help a group of Republican* Oregon State Senators experiencing the “find out” effects of Measure 113 is financially underwater.
This baker’s dozen of dingdongs has slimmed down to 10 since launching the legal defense fund. Ten Republicans serving in the state Senate decided to refuse to show up to work for most of the 2023 legislative session - denying the Oregon State Senate a quorum for months. Each of these 10 idiots chose to rack up 10 or more absences despite a recently adopted addition to the Oregon Constitution creating a penalty for state lawmakers doing just that.
*Yes, I know Brian Boquist is technically “independent.” But I refuse to let labels get in the way of the fact that he’s still a Republican in every single decision he makes.
Their prize? They are ineligible to run for that seat again.
That’s what Ballot Measure 113, passed by an overwhelming majority of Oregonians, required to be changed about the Oregon Constitution - accountability for walkouts, a tactic Oregon Republicans have been using practically every session for years.
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During the 2023 walkout tantrum maneuver, Oregon Republicans indicated they would challenge the language added to the state constitution as flawed in expressing exactly when truant legislators would be ineligible.
But early this month, Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade announced that, yes, these 10 dopes are ineligible to run again. From her statement:
“It is clear voters intended Measure 113 to disqualify legislators from running for reelection if they had 10 or more unexcused absences in a legislative session. My decision honors the voters’ intent by enforcing the measure the way it was commonly understood when Oregonians added it to our state constitution.”
Griffin-Valade issued her decision after requesting review from Oregon’s Department of Justice, who replied with a brutal take on the flimsy argument advanced by Oregon Senate Republicans:
“Indeed, to the contrary, copious material in the legislative history suggests that legislators would not be able to hold office in the immediate next term. We are persuaded that this is the correct interpretation to give effect to the intent of the voters. This interpretation is amply supported by all evidence, law, and common sense.”
The Republicans impacted by this decision are:
Sen. Daniel Bonham, R-Dalles
Sen. Lynn Findley, R-John Day
Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena
Sen. Cedric Hayden, R-Springfield
Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend
Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls
Sen. Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer
Sen. Art Robinson, R-Cave Junction
Sen. Suzanne Weber, R-Tillamook
Sen. Brian Boquist, I-Dallas
And, in a fashion you could set your watch to, Oregon Republicans are activating the lawsuit stage of this grift.
Senate Minority Leader and architect of the walkout that soiled his career, along with 9 of his colleagues, Tim Knopp, said he and others plan on fighting the will of a clear majority of Oregonians in court.
The only problem is…they already owe their lawyers $60k and they don’t have it.
In fact, the “Oregon's 13 Constitutional Defense Fund” isn’t so much a fund as it is a negative balance.
That’s not the only spicy thing about this “legal fund.”
Some of the money placed in this fund has been spent with the person listed as the Director of the fund, Bryan Iverson. Iverson is the spouse of Oregon GOP House leader Vicki Breese-Iverson and runs a political consulting firm that received more than $3,000 in payments from the “Oregon's 13 Constitutional Defense Fund.”
Iverson and his wife, Breese-Iverson, are no stranger to steering political work their own way, with the latter leading a party that randomly decided to spend millions of dollars with the former’s political marketing firm. Bryan Iverson and his business, Iverson Media, grew his business with Oregon Republicans by 1103% (not a typo).
Broke, and fighting the will of the people of Oregon, state GOP leaders will likely replenish their finances.
Oregon Republicans control a handful of big dollar political action committees. Where Democrats in Oregon tend to raise money in a more grassroots fashion, Republicans tend to consolidate their funding into a handful of PACs, controlled by folks like Knopp and his allies.
So, while the “Oregon's 13 Constitutional Defense Fund” is in financial tatters today, expect to see some large deposits into that effort from these huge PACs controlled by Oregon GOP leaders.
What remains to be seen is how much this issue will animate Republican voters in Oregon to do two things:
Contribute to the legal fund
Take Oregon Republican politicians seriously, ever again.
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