Both House and Senate on Monday passed very tight new ethics laws barring certain lobby gifts. While this is going on the governor is hosting a Political Action Committee fundraiser in Bend on Wednesday. Holding PAC campaign fundraisers while the Legislature is in Session used to be illegal, then it became lawful but discouraged. Now the governor is brazenly crossing the line.
Even worse, the governor is tying the PAC fundraiser directly to his inaugural celebrations. One Republican lawmaker lamented that he wanted to attend the governor’s inauguration celebration as a show of his bipartisan support, but can’t do so without surrendering money to a political cause that opposes him. Kulongoski’s is using a historic governor tradition as a weapon for his political campaigning.
In 2005, when a Republican senator tried to hold a PAC fundraiser during session he was beat back by the cries of the Senate Democrats and the media. Where are those cries now?