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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 10, 2009 6:40 AM. The previous post in this blog was Thank heaven. The next post in this blog is So much for the principle of the thing. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

John Kroger isn't running for governor yet...

... is he?

He's raised more than $22,000 in "campaign" contributions since he took office in January, most of it from out of state. And his "campaign" is showing more than $26,000 in cash in the bank. He's got three years before he's got to run for re-election -- why pile up dough so early? Does he just want to give it to other candidates in the meantime, or is it about him?

Comments (11)

Nothing is more central to the job of a politician than being able to explain why money changed hands. This political contribution from the lawyers in San Diego? No problem:

"Kroger says it's just because he has attracted the interest of a lot of law firms - the one in San Diego specializes in class-action lawsuits against corporations - that like his aggressive stance against corporate malfeasance."

Oh well. That's a hell of a lot more plausible than Kroger's explanation for why Sam Adams left envelopes full of cash for Beau Breedlove at city hall just prior to an investigation.

Hey, maybe Kroger should have gone with a similar explanation as this one for the law firm in San Diego:

Beau had just attracted the interest of Sam with his aggressive stance.

Okay, I'm sorry - that was weak. But here's what is really reminiscent of Sam Adams in Kroger's explanation of the political contribution:

He turns it into an opportunity to brag about himself. That's exactly how Sam would have handled it. One of the most egomaniacal things about Sam is how he takes nearly every opportunity - even when it hurts him - to turn something into a bragging moment.

Remember, he was just trying to help Beau because he was concerned about the problems gay teenagers face. He couldn't just deny the story - he had to take the opportunity to brag about how noble he was being. To hear him tell it he was concerned about the suicide rate in this group of young people so he was reaching out and possibly saving Beau's life! What a guy!!!!!

And now we have Kroger turning this into a bragging moment:

"They gave me the money because they just admire me so darn much, and can you blame them?"

Beware of politicians who can't conceal their ambition and ego better than this. It's a real sign of their true skill level.

Kroger will not run for governor and he definitely will not run against Kitzhaber. Not saying he won't run in the future, but he will not run after being in office for less then a year. Why wouldn't he start fundraising now? Elections are expensive and a politician needs to start building up a war chest early, especially if that politician expects to go after powerful corporate interests.

Kroger will raise a fair amount of cash out of state because he has a lot of contacts out of state from his time at law school, family, and work experience in NYC and D.C.. A politician normally hits up their friends, family, co-workers, classmates and anyone connected to those people for donations. Campaigns are expensive.

I saw Kroger promoting his book at Powell's, and he talked about the gubernatorial election,then added, parenthetically, that he is not running for Governor.

I don't think they are all lawyers who are impressed with Kroger's Atticus Finch act.

Georges St. Laurent, Jr. ($10,000): Real estate developer and board member of PremierWest Bancorp and PremierWest Bank. St. Laurent is former chairman, CEO and controlling shareholder of Western Bank, which was acquired by Washington Mutual.

Providence Heart and Vascular Institute ($500).

What really takes the cake is the more than $10,000 from the same law firm, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP.

These guys partnered up with local class action lawyers Stoll Stoll Berne Lokting & Schlacter, PC to sue a local ATM sales firm. The case got tossed, but the the ruling allows them to refile.

Typically if class action attorneys cannot get a class action to stand on its own legs, the firms will work out a deal with the state Attorney General to file a complaint on behalf of the state. The class action attorneys then piggy back off the taxpayer funded complaints to file their own complaints. In the past, plaintiffs' firms have been hired by the Oregon AG to collect damages on the state's behalf. It's very cozy.

Here are the donations from the Coughlin gang. Note, all the donations were made on the same day.

Patrick Coughlin ($3,000)
Helen Hodges ($1,000)
Michael Dowd ($1,000)
Paul Geller ($500)
G. Paul Howes ($500)
Eric Isaacson ($500)
Keith Park ($500)
Tor Greenborg ($350)
John Grant ($300)
Andrew Brown ($300)
Matthew Montgomery ($250)
Theodore Pintar ($250)
Chris Collins ($250)
Kevin Green ($250)
Leslie Hurst ($250)
Joseph Daley ($250)
Thomas Egler ($250)
Jeffrey Light ($250)
Stephanie Schroder ($250)

All the donations were made on the same day? If that's true, let's be fair. Maybe Kroger did something particularly noble that day to battle corporate malfeasance. You know...something so extra-noble that all these lawyers thinking independently just happened to come to the same conclusion that integrity like this MUST be rewarded.

It's kind of like the way Sam Adams slid Beau some cash - not to keep him saying the right things in the upcoming investigation - but just to help a friend who needed to move. Sam is just that wonderful. In fact, given his own financial problems leaving cash envelopes for someone who could be testifying against him under oath, was even more wonderful than that. See, Sam knew how it would look but he was willing to help his friend anyway. What a magnificent guy!!!

Of course Kroger didn't put anybody under oath because...well, why ruin a heartwarming tale of generosity. Is there no end to the world's cynicism?

What's happened to trust anyway? Maybe there's some other good explanation with the lawyers' contributions. It's possible. I know! Kroger helped save some children that day but he can't mention it to protect their identities! But how did these lawyers find out all the way down there? Hmmm......

Uh oh, are you suggesting that they had a meeting and decided to slide Kroger some cash for the good of their firm? That it could help them do business in Oregon?????

Give me a second. I need a moment here. This is a little tough to bear.

Note, all the donations were made on the same day.

All the donations were made on the same day? If that's true, let's be fair. Maybe Kroger did something particularly noble that day to battle corporate malfeasance.

Or, maybe... just maybe... they had a fundraiser!

Oh no! A fundraising event! With lots of people! All giving money! All at once! Oh noes... Oh noes!!!!!

(Personal to Bill: This is where you regale us with another awesome tale of working as a caterer at one of those scandalous "fundraisers".)

That must've been one heck of a fundraiser. Coughlin bringing in employees from San Diego, San Francisco and Boca Raton just to help out little ol' John Kroger because of his go-get-'em reputation. Kroger's ah-shucks explanation sounds too much like Sally Field at the Academy Awards: "You like me, you really like me!"

Kari,
I wasn't a caterer - I was a banquet captain, waiter and houseman. You know, the type of person the Democratic Party used to represent before they sold out to the corporate interests.
Since you brought up the subject, you made a comment about the convention hotel that encapsulated everything that's wrong with your profession.
You said you were for the government plunging into the hotel business: "If we're losing out on tourism dollars because the private sector can't get its act together to build a hotel there, well, maybe the public should."
Kari, do you know how many hotels have been built in this country since the convention center opened?
Never mind the arrogance of talking about the private sector like that. There's a reason the private sector hasn't gotten to a gold-plated opportunity like this.
And if I was a political operative for the Democratic Party, I would worry about getting my own act together.
And every now and then, think about ordinary working people who could be affected if your little central-planning committee rams through a hotel and then taxes the other hotels in the area to pay for it.
Try being a progressive more than a corporate hack.

In closing let me say that I waited many times on your hero Ron Wyden and always found him to be quite nice. We had a good talk when he grilled the tobacco executives and I could tell he was impressed with my knowledge of politics.

You should try putting on a waiter jacker for a few shifts. There's a real world out there that would give you a nice break from politics.

I tell you what: My cable access co-host, the late great James Shibley, was President of Local 9. Maybe we can get a union meeting together and invite you down to explain your snotty attitude to the waiters and hotel workers of Portland.

Hmm. Well, I didn't bring up the subject of the convention hotel, and I'm going to respect Jack's commenting policy by refraining from further comment.

You brought up the subject of my "catering" career which consisted of working in the Portland hotel business. Since you seemed to belittle it, I took the opportunity to remind you of a time when the unions mattered more to the Democratic Party and they weren't as fixated on the special interest cash flow from fundraisers and the like.

I realize you are beholden to the Democratic establishment, and it's good business to defend them. But it's bad business to belittle Local 9 as I'm sure any of your politician clients would tell you.

Maybe that's your point: Stories from when people actually worked in union jobs don't belong in the rarified atmosphere of the blogosphere. Maybe my stories don't interest you, but I can guarantee you the waiters at these banquets are often a lot more interesting than you probably imagine.

Next time you go to a fancy convention and build an anecdotal case for a government-funded hotel based on talking to the head guy from the group, talk with some working people.

All the best politicians I've met seem to enjoy it. It's a nice break for them from all the people around them angling to build their website or whatever.


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