I just received an email from Gov. Kate Brown soliciting campaign contributions. Since she can't run for re-election, can you please help me understand why she needs the money?—Hazy Cosmic Jive
Well, Hazy, as it turns out, money is awesome. I sympathize with your lack of familiarity with this miracle substance—I barely remember it myself—but I had some for, like, three days in 2004 and it was amazing. You can do all kinds of cool shit with money!
Now, my idea of "cool shit" might be going to the strip club, say, or getting my driver's license back. But politicians have their own cool shit they want to accomplish.
For example, Oregon campaign finance laws allow retiring pols to donate money to an ally's campaign fund, or to a favorite charity. Sometimes that charity is one they just formed five minutes ago, one that may or may not have their full name—including the middle initial, for added gravitas—in its title.
It is completely routine for retiring electeds to have leftover cash in their war chest upon retirement, and to allocate it in these ways. It's also not unheard of for term-limited pols to continue raising money, as Gov. Brown is doing here, though in my survey of the national media it does seem to raise a few eyebrows when they do.
Given that it's a campaign matter, the governor's office had no comment, but they did hook me up with one of her major political advisers.
"We operate in a political world dominated by lobbyists and big money," Milestones Campaigns' Thomas Wheatley intoned. "Gov. Brown needs to have the ability to communicate directly with Oregonians about her priorities," especially when those priorities—the make-or-break cigarette tax springs to mind—appear on the 2020 ballot.
Of course, on July 15 (after I received your letter), another possible money sink emerged—a GOP-led effort to recall the governor.
With 280,000 signatures in 90 days required to force a recall election, this one is a long shot. But if that election does happen, it won't have caught the governor flatfooted in the money race.
Save the date! On Saturday, Sept. 7, Dr. Know celebrates 10 years with "That's Edutainment!" a multimedia extravaganza at the Alberta Rose Theatre. Get your tickets at http://doctorknow.live/tickets.