In many states you could not do what Loren Parks and Kevin Mannix have done. Oregon, however, appears to have accepted the concept that money equals speech, and therefore can't be constrained - only reported - in a political campaign.
That has allowed Loren Parks to contribute something approaching a million dollars on behalf of a single candidate for governor of Oregon - $731,000 directly to Republican Mannix, and another substantial sum to a third party (Greg Clapper) who produced and promulgated negative ads aimed at Mannix' main primary opponent, Ron Saxton. Parks has contributed more than half of all of Mannix' campaign funds. He has contributed about one dollar out of six in this year's Oregon governor's race. So far. No one in Oregon history, at least since contributions have been publicly recorded, has ever contributed nearly so much to a single candidate.
That's remarkable. As is this: Parks' efforts, probably more than those of any of the seven major candidates now in the race for governor, are more directly responsible for the negative tone that has clouded the contest in the last couple of weeks. His buys of independent negative ads, together with his funding of a Mannix campaign that went very heavily negative toward the end (notwithstanding a disavowal of that approach recently), were the most important trigger in the darkening of the late air war. (more…)