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Monday, April 23, 2007

Ideology, profit join Big Labor, The Oregonian

Measure 37 opposition donations revealed
Wentz: "Why would it surprise me?"

People who paid hard cash to oppose Measure 37's restoration of property rights keep on paying, even though Oregon voters have approved the measure twice.

Donors - including an out-of-state billionaire - who lost two statewide ballot elections are continuing to prosecute a political campaign against M37, according to a study by the Money in Politics Research Action project. Si Newhouse's The Oregonian and Tim Nesbitt's Oregon AFL-CIO are putting up all the dough. There are no smaller individual donors.

M37's cash-heavy opponents have created a war in which there will be "two sides" forever, no matter how many times Oregonians vote to protect and restore property rights. All sides can agree on this: it's no surprise to see The Oregonian and Big Labor working hand-in-glove. Long ago, The Oregonian sold its soul to avoid a re-unionization campaign among its own workers. The legendary story is known as "Striking it Rich."

Money in Politics is a labor-backed organization. A darling of the MSM, the large one-person "group" usually avoids any critique of Big Labor's political agenda. But they say that the fight to preserve Oregon's draconian land-use rules has generated $637 million of political spending by M37 opponents and they can no long stand silent.

"I think there are people out there who ideologically feel that property rights are evil," says Janice Thompson, the group's director, as she tears open a fresh bag of Doritos. "Others say I've got mine, but you can't have yours. Either way, it's clear that government unions have the wherewithal to make very large political contributions - and have a huge economic stake in the outcome."

Profit is the only philosophy that matters, according to Patty Wentz, the spokesperson for Our Oregon, the consortium of the Oregon Education Association teachers union and the SEIU government workers' union. Our Oregon is known as the 800-lb. gorilla of Oregon politics.

The Portland-based political campaign organization contributed $300,000 against M37 because unions believe that the restoration of property rights in Oregon is causing taxpayers to realize they are being ripped-off by government unions, Wentz said. Wanting to protect their turf, they filed a $269 million lawsuit against Oregonians in Action, the sponsor of Measure 37. The legal matter is working its way through the courts.

As to the dearth of other contributors against M37, except for unions and The Oregonian, Wentz said, "Why would it surprise me?"

The Oregonian, Apr. 23, By LAURA OPPENHEIMER

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