Piecing Through Carrick Flynn’s Few Oregon Contributions

Elizabeth Vaintrob is among just 10 Oregonians who have given enough to the Flynn campaign that their names have been disclosed.

HOW MUCH?

$2,900 on March 30

WHO GOT IT?

Carrick Flynn, candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for Oregon’s 6th Congressional District.

WHO GAVE IT?

Elizabeth Vaintrob, of Eugene, who works for the Oxford-based Centre for Effective Altruism.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

Vaintrob is among just 10 Oregonians who have given enough to the Flynn campaign that their names have been disclosed. Their total contributions account for $20,220, just 2.4% of his campaign’s $830,000 in donations, as the Salem Statesman-Journal first reported last week. That total is itself a tiny fraction of the $6 million being spent by the cryptocurrency-backed Protect Our Future PAC that is supporting Flynn’s candidacy.

Effective altruism is a philosophy of making charitable donations with an aim to have the maximum impact—think utilitarianism, but for venture capitalists—and is in vogue with Silicon Valley investors, including some who favor cryptocurrency. Flynn has connections to the effective altruism community. A friend of Flynn’s posted on the Centre’s online forum under the initials “ASB” soliciting donations for the Flynn campaign on the grounds that his election would support pandemic preparedness. “The Biden administration released a fantastic $65 billion plan that aims to prevent future pandemics,” he writes. “Congress has funded practically none of it. Part of the problem is that nobody in Congress has made pandemic preparedness a ‘core issue.’” Flynn, he argues, will do that.

WHAT DOES THE CAMPAIGN SAY?

The Flynn campaign says Flynn has built a record through his anti-poverty and public health work that has attracted interest from the philanthropic community.

“As we approach the primary, we are soliciting votes more than soliciting money—but will continue to develop our grassroots donor base,” says Flynn campaign manager Avital Balwit. “It is also worth noting that we have dozens more in-state donors than initially reported—many smaller contributions that are not itemized but reflective of our growing base of support.”