Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Where do your PAC contributions go?

What Political Action Committees do:
  • General PACs promote certain ballot measures and like-minded candidates' political campaigns.
  • Candidate PACs primarily promote the election of a single candidate.
  • Both Candidate and General PACs donate funds to other Candidate and General PACs.
Example:  You could give money to Friends of Ann Lininger thinking you were helping her get re-elected to her position in the state legislature.  You might then be surprised to learn that her PAC was giving money to other (Democtat) candidates and sympathetic general PACs.  From there the money can go any number of places - to pay for campaign expenses, or to go to still other candidate and general PACs.

Since PAC money is fungible, one cannot track a single person's or entity's contributions, but be forewarned that when you donate to a PAC, you lose control over how the money is spent and who benefits from your donation.

USC NOTE: I am not picking on Ann Lininger - her campaign activity is typical of others in the state legislature.  I picked her PAC as an example of how money gets passed through PACs, only because it (she) contributed money to local candidates and the new Friends of Lake Oswego PAC that I am following.

Can you follow the money?

Round 1: FO Ann Lininger PAC 
Money comes from:  Eli Lilly and Co., ($500); Oregon Canibis PAC ($250); Oregon Education Association ($500); Oregon Hospital Political Action Committee ($2,500); Amazon.com ($1,000); and many more.

Money goes to:  Friends of Jon Gustafson ($250); Friends of Theresa Kohlhoff ($250);   Friends of Lake Oswego ($1,750)

Round 2: Jon Gustafson and Theresa Kohlhoff Candidate PACs
Money comes from: FO Ann Lininger (see above)

Money goes to:  Friends of Lake Oswego (see below)

Round 3:  Friends of Lake Oswego PAC
Money comes from:  Friends of Jon Gustafson ($10,000);  Friends of Theresa Kohlhoff ($4,500); Friends of Ann Lininger ($1,750). Friends of Lake Oswego has received over $30k to date. Over half its funds come from these three PACs.

Money goes to:  FOLO has not spent any money yet.

PAC contributions are like big-league re-gifting among friends.  Only money is the kind of gift people enjoy getting, and giving.  And no wrapping to mess with!

USC is not a fan of re-gifting - Donors' contributions should stay with the PAC they are given to, to make the transfer of funds more transparent and connections between entities more clear.  The public needs to be able to follow the money!  None of this shell game stuff! 

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