314 Action Fund PAC Discloses Donors Who Funded Independent Expenditures for Dexter in 3rd Congressional District

The largest source of independent expenditures in the race to succeed Earl Blumenauer remains a mystery.

FOLLOW THAT BIRD: Sesame Street co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney sent money to the PAC now supporting Maxine Dexter. (Shutterstock)

With a day to go before elections officials count ballots for the primary, one of the national independent expenditure committees active in Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District disclosed the source of its recent funding on May 20.

Related: Dark Money Flows Into the 3rd Congressional District Democratic Primary

That committee, 314 Action Fund, says it funds candidates who have scientific backgrounds. In the 3rd District Democratic primary, the PAC has spent $2.2 million to support state Rep. Maxine Dexter (D-Portland) in her race against former Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales.

For most of the past month, observers have speculated the PAC’s investment in Dexter is a way to elevate her over Jayapal, whom pro-Israel interest groups fear because they perceive her to be less supportive than Dexter. It’s also the case that Dexter, a pulmonologist at Kaiser, better fits the pro-science orientation of the PAC, but the $2.2 million is a lot more than 314 Action spent in Oregon’s 5th District, where the group supports state Rep. Janelle Bynum (D-Happy Valley) over Jamie McLeod-Skinner. Both Bynum and McLeod-Skinner earned engineering degrees, but 314 Action has spent $474,000 to support Bynum, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Disclosures filed with the FEC on May 20 show 314 Action got $500,000 from media magnate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; $350,000 from Robert Granieri, a co-founder of the New York investment firm Jane Street Capital (which once employed a young Sam Bankman-Fried); and $100,000 from Sesame Street co-creator Joan Ganz Cooney. Those are the big contributions through the end of April (there were no large contributions to the PAC from Oregon). The PAC does not have to disclose May contributions yet.

Bloomberg has been a strong supporter of the American Israel Political Action Committee in the past. He’s also a major donor to scientific causes. He says he’s given away $14.4 billion in his lifetime, including $3.4 billion to Johns Hopkins University, where the Bloomberg School of Public Health bears his name.

Granieri gave $250,000 to an AIPAC effort, the United Democracy PAC, on Oct. 15. He also contributed heavily to a PAC that supported GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley and gave $150,000 to a PAC that supports same-sex marriage.

Ganz Cooney doesn’t appear to have a connection to AIPAC. Her most notable recent contribution was $300,000 last year to a PAC supporting House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

The Oregonian reported the 314 Action Fund contributions earlier, along with the fact that another national PAC active in the 3rd Congressional District primary, Voters for Responsive Government, which has spent $3.25 million bashing Jayapal, did not disclose donors May 20, which suggests its money all came in after April 30.

WW endorsed Dexter in the 3rd District primary. To see our all our endorsements, click here.

Ballots for the May 21 primary must be postmarked by Tuesday or turned in at an official ballot drop by 8 pm.

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