Oregon conservation groups are fuming about Gov. Kate Brown's appointments to the board that oversees the state's wolf management plan.
Now, one of those groups—Oregon Wild—is raising funds for an attack ad against the governor.
As WW recently reported, eight wildlife groups object to three of Brown's choices to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission—and especially James Nash, a rancher and trophy-hunting guide from Enterprise, Ore. His Instagram feed until recently featured him posing with dead hippopotamus, zebra and crocodile, among other prizes. Nash's father, Todd Nash, is also a prominent lobbyist with the Oregon's Cattlemen's Association, which represents ranchers who would like to see increased wolf killings.
Steve Pedery, the conservation director of Oregon Wild, says plans for a TV campaign crystallized Thursday, April 29, after a tense meeting between state conservationists and Brown's office—during which Brown's staffers allegedly refused to pull Nash's nomination from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Pedery says Nash's nomination represents a glaring conflict of interest and says Brown has been unable to take a strong stand on wildlife conservation in Oregon. He accuses her of "horse trading" the interests of wolf and salmon conservation in order to get votes from rural Democrats on new corporate taxes and a carbon tax bill.
"Oregonians did not vote for a governor who is going to behave this way," Pedery says. "She was not re-elected with a mandate to act like Trump."
Oregon Wild and other wildlife conservationists are now raising funds for attack ads against Brown. Oregon Wild put $10,000 behind the effort, and sent emails to its members Friday requesting donations.
"This is just the most telling example of how, without clear direction and leadership from Brown, ODFW has become captured by special interests who seem to only value wildlife that can be fished or hunted, and deem native species like wolves as nothing more than a nuisance," the email reads.
Brown's office did not immediately return a request for comment. Kate Kondayen, Brown's spokeswoman, told WW last week that the criticism of the governor was misinformed.
"Gov. Brown has always kept balance and diverse experiences and backgrounds at the fore of her considerations of any board or commission in Oregon, as well as representing all regions from across the state," she said. "Her appointments this round are a continuation of that track record."