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Report: Follow the Money--Cut Through Campaign Noise

November 5, 2007

Portland, OR – Tomorrow's statewide election includes only two ballot measures for Oregon voters to consider, but the measures are costing both their opponents and supporters big bucks. A new report from Democracy Reform Oregon shows campaigns for and against Measures 49 and 50 have total budgets of almost $22 million. Half of the money is from tobacco companies fighting Measure 50; and timber interests have put up 61 percent of the money for the "No on 49" effort. Report author Sarah Wetherson says knowing where the money comes from is helpful.

"It's another piece of information for voters, to kind-of cut through the noise of the campaign and get down to the facts about who's backing a ballot measure or who's fighting a ballot measure."

Wetherson says much of the money has been spent on a big radio and television advertising blitz leading up to election day, and knowing who pays for those ads is important piece of the puzzle.

"Seeing who's financing the campaigns can give voters another piece of information that maybe they're just not going to hear from the advertising they're seeing on T.V."

To put this year's campaign finances in perspective, Wetherson adds the amount raised in the tug-of-wars for the two 2007 ballot measures totals nearly $4 million more than what was spent on campaigns for all ten of the measures on last year's ballot. The full report can be found online, at www.democracyreform.org.

Dondrea Warner/John Robinson, Public News Service - OR