Kitzhaber Scandal: $5,000 Independent Party pay-out

Oregon Republican Party Calls On Secretary of State And Attorney General To Initiate Investigation Into Financial Connections Between Kitzhaber Campaign And Independent Party Of Oregon
By Oregon Republican Party,

Portland, Ore. – Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bob Tiernan today called on Oregon’s Secretary of State and Attorney General to conduct an investigation into potential improprieties concerning financial activities between the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber and Independent Party of Oregon officials. “Sunlight is the best disinfectant, which is why we are asking for an investigation to determine whether the financial activities between Kitzhaber’s campaign and Independent Party of Oregon were an attempt to curry favor for their support. A review of news accounts and financial transactions between officials from both camps appear to suggest coordination between the two as a result of these contributions,” said Tiernan.

“According to the Secretary of State, the Independent Party has gotten dangerously close to engaging in pay-to-play politics. This election is too important to allow these questionable activities to go unaddressed – especially in light of recent allegations involving the Independent Party. It is imperative that the Secretary of State and Attorney General bring transparency and accountability to this situation to provide resolution to all Oregonians,” Tiernan continued.A copy of the letter has been included below (an identical letter was also sent to John Kroger, Attorney General of Oregon):

June 9th, 2010
Kate Brown
Oregon Secretary of State
136 State Capitol
Salem, OR 97301

Dear Secretary Brown,

The following letter is a request for you to use the full capacity of the office of Secretary of State to investigate the potential improprieties concerning the financial activity and coordination between the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Kitzhaber and Independent Party of Oregon officials.

These activities raise very troubling questions, and we feel it is in the interest of all Oregonians to investigate this matter fully, to assure that all parties are acting accordingly to the spirit and letter of Oregon election law.

According to Orestar, Brett Wilcox, Finance Chairman for John Kitzhaber’s gubernatorial campaign, made a contribution of $5,000 to the Independent Party of Oregon on Jan 28, 2010. Following this contribution, Sal Peralta, Secretary of the Independent Party of Oregon, made a personal withdrawal in the amount of $2,500 from the Independent Party on February 2, 2010 for purposes unknown according to Orestar.

Following this transaction, Sal Peralta began to publicly attack Bill Bradbury, Kitzhaber’s opponent during primary election via the internet. The process was repeated against Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Dudley. Peralta’s posts on Blue Oregon are as follows:

March 10, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,
March 29, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,
April 11, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,

April 28, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,
May 5, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,
May 21, 2010, Blue Oregon Comment Post,

To fully understand the matter at hand, it is important to understand the relationship between Kitzhaber and Wilcox. In 1994, Wilcox was the third largest donor to Kitzhaber’s gubernatorial campaign. Following the election, Kitzhaber then appointed Wilcox as chair of the Oregon Economic Development Commission. As Kitzhaber’s current campaign finance chair, one could arguably make the assumption that his political donations are done in the interest and benefit of the campaign.

“[Wilcox’s] success won him a seat on the board of Reed College, as well as an appointment from Gov. John Kitzhaber to head the Oregon Economic Development Commission…In 1994, for example, Wilcox was the third-biggest contributor to Gov. John Kitzhaber, following only Nike CEO Phil Knight and scrap-metal king Warren Rosenfeld.”
(Nick Budnick, “The Juice Junkie,” Willamette Week, 5/30/2001)

Moreover, Wilcox has made $20,000 in contributions to Kitzhaber’s gubernatorial campaign:

• September 9, 2009 – $10,000 donation

• March 31, 2010 – $10,000 donation

The aforementioned financial transactions, coupled with Peralta’s attacks on Bradbury and Dudley raise the following questions:

• According to ORESTAR, Wilcox is the single largest donor to the Independent Party this cycle. Was his $5,000 contribution an attempt to curry favor with the organization on behalf of Kitzhaber’s campaign?

• Was the $2,500 check written to Peralta from the Independent Party directly related to Wilcox’s contribution, and if so, was it to encourage him to publicly attack the Bradbury and Dudley campaign?

• Was Wilcox’s $5,000 contribution given to help secure the nomination of the Independent Party for John Kitzhaber?

• Given that Wilcox is a major supporter of Kitzhaber and the Democratic Party, what is the purpose of making such a substantial contribution to the Independent Party?

Clearly these questions require further investigation. Oregonians deserve a fair election system which is both transparent and based on merit, not “pay-for-play” influence peddling.

Thank you for your consideration of this very serious matter.


Bob Tiernan
Oregon Republican Party