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Who’s paying for what’s in my mailbox?

Is anybody else wishing that when we get election propaganda, it had to say who actually sent it and who paid for it?

I was thinking about this the other day when, like many households in Jackson County, mine received our first piece of mail for the November election.

From the way it was addressed, and from what other residents have told me, it was apparently targeted to women.

It was sent by “Friends of Jessica Gomez,” who is running for State Senate District 3 against Jeff Golden.The first panel, on an ominous black background, accused Golden of wanting “to make Oregon’s tax code more progressive.”

The second panel had a cheery picture of Gomez and said that her focus would be to keep corporate taxes low.

Regardless of your opinion about whether big corporations are paying their fair share of taxes, wouldn’t you like to know, just who are the “Friends of Jessica Gomez” when you receive mail like that?

For that, I had to do my own research by going to the Oregon secretary of state’s website for campaign finance reporting, where candidates are required to report contributions. You can go there, too, if you are interested.

It turns out that the big contributors to Friends of Jessica Gomez are the largest corporate interests, many of them from out of state.

The drug industry’s national political action committee, or PAC, operated by Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, apparently feels it has something important at stake in our Southern Oregon State Senate race, as it was a major contributor.

Other major contributors are PACs for oil, coal, and fracked gas companies like Chevron and British Petroleum (BP).

And insurance companies like Farmers Insurance and Regence Blue Cross.

Plus the Oregon Bankers PAC and the largest retailers like Walgreens.

The chemical industry is represented through “Oregonians for Food and Shelter PAC,” whose board includes Monsanto, Syngenta and Dow Chemical.

Other major contributors include Associated General Contractors, which represents the largest nonunion construction companies in the nation.

Although I had not received any mail from Jeff Golden for the fall campaign yet, I decided to complete my research by looking up his campaign contributors. I didn’t see any corporate PACs there.

If campaign propaganda had to identify the major contributors who paid for it, voters could reach their own conclusions about whether that says something about who the candidate will answer to in office. But it seems that all of us are entitled to at least have that information, and I wonder how realistic it is to expect individual voters to find out for themselves on the Oregon secretary of state’s website.

Pauline Black lives in Ashland.

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