Yesterday, we explored the peculiar link between Rep. Matt Wingard, Lindsay Berschauer (who is running to replace him), and the Oregon Transformation Project. Several of the PAC’s financial transactions served as clues to reveal the connection.
But that’s only one race, and the Oregon Transformation Project seems to be positioning themselves as the new heavy hitters in Oregon Republican politics. So what other interesting patterns do their financial records show?
A Subsidiary of Stimson Lumber?
In a very real sense, the Oregon Transformation Project PAC is the political arm of Stimson Lumber. Instead of funding campaigns directly, Stimson Lumber funnels their money through the Oregon Transformation PAC. These kinds of pass-throughs are often used when individuals or businesses desire to keep their names separate from another candidate or measure. Individuals or companies donate a sum of money to one, general group which then donates to the true intended recipient. (For pioneering examples of this type of money moving, see any number of Mannix or Sizemore ballot measure campaigns.)
Although, if this is Stimson’s motive, they’re not doing a very good job of hiding the money. Check out the patterns:
Like when the exact same sum of money goes in to the committee one week…
And then out another:
Or a sum goes in one day….
And then gets turned around the same exact day:
Stimson Lumber is not only the largest contributor to the PAC (giving 70% of the PAC’s total contributions), but it is also one of the only contributors. It begs the question: why wouldn’t Stimson just donate directly to the candidates?
We can come up with a number of reasons: Stimson could be hiding their direct interest in candidate races, candidates could pretend that their funding isn’t coming from large corporations, or perhaps this is just to elevate the Oregon Transformation Project’s stature.
But the truth of the matter is that we just don’t know. Because of the very nature of pass-through contributions, Stimson’s true motivations and intentions remain hidden.
Of note: Stimson Lumber CEO Andrew Miller is one of the leaders of the Oregon Transformation Project.
Paying Others to Pay Themselves
It pays to be part of (or friends and family of) the Oregon Transformation Project staff!
Rep. Wingard – close friend of the group’s director, Lindsay Berschauer – has certainly enjoyed a financial boon from the group. In addition to receiving a pretty penny directly from the group, Wingard also benefited indirectly. The Oregon Transformation Project has poured $75,000 into John Ludlow’s campaign for Clackamas County Chair – accounting for 70% of the campaign’s total funds. Check out who got a chunk of that change: Ludlow’s campaign has paid over $10,000 of that straight back to Wingard’s consulting business, Beambo Consulting.
Berschauer herself will also likely enjoy a nice sized check. We noted yesterday that Stimson Lumber donated $75,000 to the PAC just days before Berschauer announced that she was running for office.
Even Mary Kremer – the wife of Rob Kremer, OTP co-manager and PAC co-director – got in on the deal with a sweet $5,000 for “management services.”
All together, these transactions ought to raise eyebrows– if not further concern.