Ethics complaint filed against GOP senators' fundraising
A state child welfare worker, supported by a coalition of political groups, filed complaints with the state ethics commission and the secretary of state on Wednesday, alleging the 11 Republican senators who have left the state to protest the cap and trade policy have been raising money to support their absence — and attending fines — outside the bounds of state elections and ethics laws.
A GoFundMe account had raised about $43,000 as of Thursday through crowdfunding to "encourage" the senators who had walked out. A political action committee has also been set up.
The self-styled "Get Back to Work Coalition," which announced the complaints Thursday, includes groups such as Renew Oregon — a key advocate for cap and trade — and Basic Rights Oregon, SEIU, Oregon Education Association.
"It is time for everyone to step up and call them out," said Andrea Kennedy-Smith, the state child welfare worker who filed the complaints, criticizing the senators for holding up budgets for DHS while they are out of state and the Senate can't vote. "Not only have Senate Republicans abandoned their posts, broken the trust of Oregonians by hiding out of state and turned the legislature into an international laughingstock, it's becoming clear that they could be violating state ethics or campaign finance laws while on the run."
The GOP struck back in a statement.
"The complaint filed tonight by this group was nothing more than a 'scorched earth' act of intimidation by Democrat and HB2020 supporting groups aimed at the #Oregon11 GOP Senators who walked out on the final vote on this bill," said Kevin Hoar, a spokesman for the Oregon Republican Party. "These front groups have a direct, special interest in foisting the unaffordable Cap & Tax scheme on Oregonians, and are angrily trying to exact vengeance on the GOP Senators who may have succeeded in defeating them, for now."