This post may also be cited as “Fun with ORESTAR – Caucus Committee Edition”. In case you haven’t checked it out, ORESTAR is Oregon’s campaign finance database and clearinghouse, wherein any fan of transparency or political number cruncher can lose themselves in piles and piles of contribution and expenditure reports. It offers raw data for the novice and insider alike, which means you can cut through the cheeky narratives of blogs such as this one should you feel so compelled.
For today’s foray into C & E, let’s take a look at reports from the different caucus committees of the Oregon Legislature. Now remember, Oregon election law only requires that campaign treasurers post transactions on the site within 30 days in the current stage of the 2008 election. If the groups donate to the campaigns for the 2007 election, such as Yes on 49, then that reporting window narrows to 7 days.
One word that might define the field of caucus campaign committees: disparity. And that disparity overwhelmingly favors the Democrats.
The campaign committee for the Oregon House Democrats, Future PAC, has raised $138,254.28 in 2007, with a total of $160,354.48 cash on hand. And all of that amount arrived after the close of the legislative session in late June. Compare that first figure to that of the newly-named Promote Oregon Leadership PAC for the House Republicans: $105,673.47 in contributions. Not too bad for the minority party, right? Well, they have spent the preponderance of that money, leaving them at a modest sum of $21,542.75. It would seem that the House GOP has a lot less out-of-the-gate fundraising enthusiasm than the majority party, and that it has quickly exhausted a large proportion of its early money resources.
For the Oregon Senate caucuses, not much is different. The Senate Democratic Leadership Fund has raised $152,510.57 this year and has retained $143,811.24. That’s a pretty good show for a caucus with at least one-fifth of its membership running for statewide office. For the Senate GOP’s figures, you must find the vaguely-named committee “The Leadership Fund”, which indicates that the Senate Republicans have raised only $78,300.86 but have tightly controlled spending to keep $105,668.99 on hand.
These trends reflect, to a large extent, the fundraising gap between the campaign committees for the national parties. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has been outpacing its Republican counterpart, the NRCC, by figures of two-to-one over the past few months, and the same rate is true for the U.S. Senate to a lesser extent.
But looking at federal numbers seems a lot less interesting than looking at state reports, where you can see the names of local businesses, and perhaps even your neighbors, listed as contributors to one party or another. If you haven’t taken a look at ORESTAR yet, head over there and do some number crunching for yourself.