Last year, a group of wealthy businessmen unhappy at the direction of Oregon's higher education system made a series of donations to a new political action committee called Oregonians for Higher Education Excellence.

Nike chairman Phil Knight, former University of Oregon Athletic Director Pat Kilkenny and former beer distributor Ed Maletis and others each donated $65,000; Columbia Sportswear CEO Tim Boyle contributed $62,500. In total, the committee raised $445,000 last year. Boyle told WW in May 2012 that the committee's backers wanted to see the Legislature give Oregon's seven universities more autonomy.

Lawmakers did so in the 2013, creating independent boards for the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and Portland State University.

So now Oregonians for Higher Education Excellence is emptying its coffers.

This week, the PAC reported giving $115,000 to the the Oregon Business Council's charitable arm.