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Far-right PAC uses Salem worker tax to launch grift
Marion Polk First is fundraising off of a petition to send tax to public vote.
A collection of business and political groups appear to have a good chance at gathering the required signatures to send a recently passed payroll tax to Salem voters for their approval.
And while the petition effort is being led by Oregon Business and Industry (OBI), a significant portion of the signature gathering appears to be driven by far-right stalwart, Marion Polk First - an organization with a political action committee (PAC) that funnels campaign resources to some of the most extreme right-wing candidates and causes in Oregon.
Salem-Keizer Proletariat doesn’t want you to be fooled into financially supporting far right assholes. That’s why we wrote this. It’s local news retooled to help progressive communities grow and prosper. To receive new posts and support this work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
To place the working class tax on the ballot this November, petitioners need to submit at least 3,986 signatures by August 9, 2023. Abbey McDonald with the Salem Reporter wrote this week that OBI claims it has gathered more than 4,000 signatures as of July 25.
But Marion Polk First seems to have other ideas about how to participate in gathering signatures (an effort they are actually pretty terrible at).
While OBI doesn’t mention Marion Polk First anywhere in their public relations efforts about this petition, the far-right group seems deeply involved with organizing signature collections. In fact, Marion Polk First is promoting six signature gathering events over the next couple weeks.
But Marion Polk First isn’t just promoting the petition.
They are also asking people to donate to their own PAC efforts - seemingly using opposition to a working class tax to drum up funding for their own political extremism.
In fact, Marion Polk First made their motivations clear the very next day after the Salem City Council passed the working class tax. Their participation in this petition effort isn’t really about giving the people a voice, it’s about exacting political retribution on City Councilors that they are ideologically opposed to. In their own words, posted July 11, the morning after the vote:
“Our work begins today. City Councilors Virginia Stapleton and Trevor Phillips both voted for this devastating new tax against the will of the people. Both are up for re-election next Spring.
Over the next 10 months, Marion Polk First PAC will use our staff and data resources to educate voters on the votes of these politicians and work to replace them next year.
But we can't do this alone. Can you chip in a donation now to help us prepare to win a conservative majority on the Salem City Council?
Donate here! 👉 https://secure.anedot.com…. (full address obscured because we don’t want to publicize their grift)”
Anyway, these far-right folks have local political heavyweights like Marion County Commissioner Danielle Bethell helping their efforts to turn this petition effort into a not-so-subtle grift.
On July 20, Bethell posted a video to her official County Commissioner Facebook account with text that urged people to sign the petition AND to donate to the Marion Polk First PAC (with a link directly to their PAC donation form).
Does that mean you shouldn’t submit your signature to get the working class tax on the ballot for voters to decide?
Hell no. Sign it.
I mean, don’t sign it if you think the City Council made the right call.
But if you think Salem voters should have a choice in whether Salem workers see less of their paycheck to fund more cops in a city running on fiscal fumes…submit your signature.
But don’t be fooled into thinking these groups gathering signatures and opposing this tax are “on your side.” As we can see here with Marion Polk First - a chance to leverage the plight of the working class to score political points seems to be a driving force for the far-right forces backing the OBI petition effort.
And please, my brothers and sisters in whatever lord and savior you talk to at night…don’t give Marion Polk First any of your fucking money.
In fact, you know how to avoid all these creeps? Print the fucking signature form out yourself. Read the directions carefully. Get signatures from other folks if you feel so inclined. And submit them on your own.
Here’s how - www.letsalemvote.com/sign
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