Many hate the idea of career politicians and demand term limits. Yet our politicians will not subscribe to them (although I do!). But when we demand Campaign Finance reforms and more ethics put into politics, our politicians are quick to jump on the bandwagon and pass legislation. Why would this be? Simply put, they get to write the rules.
They limit the amount of money that can be donated by individuals to candidates, what they don’t acknowledge is they already have the connections to get the stream of money flowing. They also can use their office for free advertising. Suzanne Bonamici, the incumbent I am challenging, had three “town hall meetings” paid with tax dollars as part of her office budget just weeks prior to the primary election. While this is a good way to communicate with constituents, this also allows her a large amount of public and media attention without being forced to use her campaign funds. She also did a fluff piece for the Oregonian in April knocking on the doors of local businesses. Campaign Finance and Ethics reforms do not stop corruption and career politicians, it only hurts challengers who don’t have name recognition or influence to put up a fair financial battle. These same politicians also include rules to put added expenses on challengers that incumbents are exempt from. And being that I am self funding my own campaign, every fee and expense results in less money to promote myself to the public. For example, I received this email today:
Since the early 1990’s Agpac Educational Services Association (AESA) has sponsored a tour for candidates, legislators and other public officials. The tour has highlighted issues and locations of importance to agriculture and forestry. We have contacted the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and they have approved the tour. The Secretary of the Senate has fully sanctioned our event, and we are awaiting word from the Chief Clerk of the House.
Ethics rules were reformed during the 2007 legislative session and since then have been further revised. Because of the ethics rules now in effect, we can only cover tour expenses for current legislators and public officials. Unfortunately, the rules protect incumbent legislators and current public officials, but candidates do not fall under the same rules.
Expenses for candidates are not covered under the current rules. As much as we would like for all candidates to attend, we must ask that you pay for the expenses we incur on your behalf. We anticipate those costs to be $70.00 per person. We have included an invoice for your records.
That said, we invite you to join us on the 2016 tour. Our theme is“Oregon Agriculture – Locally Grown, Globally Know”. We have included a tour agenda, registration form and directions to where you will catch the bus.
As you can see, we have a full day planned for you. This is an excellent opportunity for you to visit with farmers, ranchers, and foresters concerning the issues facing the Oregon natural resource community.
Please check your calendar to see if you’re available to join us onTuesday June 7, 2016. Then fill out the registration form, along with your check for $70 and mail it to:
Agpac Educational Services Association
ATTN: Diann Washburn
1320 Capitol ST NE, STE B-50
Salem, OR 97301
To assist us in planning this event, we ask that you complete and return your RSVP by the June 1st, and prepay your participation fee of $70. We hope the cost will not deter you from attending, we have a fun day planned for you and we want to share many issues important to Oregon’s natural resource base.
Please dress appropriately – you will be walking around on farms. We recommend you wear closed-toed footwear and bring a jacket. Depending on the weather, you might consider bringing a hat, sunscreen, or umbrella, etc.
Congratulations on winning your Primary race. We appreciate your willingness to run for office and applaud you for the time it takes and sacrifices that are made to serve your community, constituents, and the State of Oregon. We look forward to seeing you at the tour June 7th.
Now it is only $70 dollars, but keep in mind, these are the rules for all events for candidates. And if I choose not to go to some of these events due to finances, it appears as if I am not serious about my candidacy. And since my budget is limited to $5000 dollars of my own money, this is death by 1000 cuts. Good thing the IRS lets me write off $50 dollars of my $5000 investment on my taxes! Because that is seriously going to save me a couple bucks next April 15th. Seriously…just a couple of bucks. Now I will register for this event and others and I will learn about the needs and struggles of various Oregon industries, but please be wary of any career politician who says they support Campaign finance reform. They support it all right. They want to financially break any challenger that gets in their way.
My name is Brian Heinrich and I am running for US Congress in Oregon’s 1st District. I am self funding my own campaign. I do not want your money, I just want your vote.