Campaign donors are getting an early start on the 2018 election.
So reveals new research from American City Business Journals, the Portland Business Journal's parent company. ACBJ tracked down the full list of 2,682 contributions that Oregonians made to political action groups gearing up for the 2018 election and beyond.
All told, Oregon donors made $424,396 in contributions during 2017's first quarter, the highest being a $33,000-plus gift to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The data, from the Federal Election Commission, includes all individual contributions made to the nation’s 25-largest political action committees between Jan. 1 and March 31.
Here's what the FEC data reveals:
- Christopher Roberts, who's from Portland and, like more than half of the top 25 donors is listed as "not employed," ranked third on the overall list by contributing more than $10,000 to Democratic causes. Roberts made 142 contributions, the highest being $500.
- Roberts didn't make the most contributions. Sandra Troon, a textile conservator who lives in Beaverton, made 158, most of them to the political action committee ActBlue, a Somerville, Massachusetts-based nonprofit targeting small-dollar donations in support of "the left," according to its website. Don Dumond, who's listed as "not employed," made 76 total contributions.
- Hannah Jones, Nike's chief sustainability officer, made $250 contributions to both ActBlue and Emily's List. Jones is the only person from Nike Inc. on the contribution list.
- One other big name on the list: Actor William Hurt, who gave $250 to ActBlue.
- Among the 25-largest individual donors during the quarter, 20 made contributions to Democratic committees. Four of the top 10 donors contributed money to Republican groups.
Oregon's campaign picture mirrors that of the nationally scene. Whereas more than $1 billion in political contributions were funneled to candidates, advocacy groups and myriad election committees during the 2016 election cycle, $236.4 million went to PACs during 2017's first quarter.
That's 30 percent more than the $183.1 million in contributions recorded during the same span following the 2012 presidential election.
No surprise: President Donald Trump's election victory appears to have galvanized big-ticket donors supporting candidates and causes affiliated with the Democratic Party. Of the $50 million in donations that flowed to the nation's 25-largest PACs (ranked by total dollars raised) in the first quarter, 51 percent went to committees with direct or overlapping ties to the Democratic Party.
By comparison, 34 percent went to Republican-affiliated PACs, while the remainder went to entities with specific corporate or issue-driven missions.
Tops among all PACs in Q1 was ActBlue. The group reported more than $13.3 million in contributions for the quarter, with approximately half of those funds coming from donors in California and New York.
PACs with formal ties to the Democratic National Party and its congressional campaign committees raised another $8.5 million, with California and New York accounting for about a third ($3 million) of that total. Texas ($535,000) and Massachusetts ($459,000) also ranked high among all U.S. states.
By comparison, PACs with direct ties to the Republican National Committee and its affiliates raised $13.5 million, with California ($1.9 million) and Florida ($1.2 million) leading all states. New York ($1.1 million) and Texas ($1 million) also accounted for significant RNC-related support.
Among the 25 PACs to raise the most funds in Q1, five were affiliated with corporations — including PACS linked to each of the nation's major accounting firms of KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers. For months, all four firms and their related lobbying entities have been engaged with the Trump administration and Congress relative to proposals to reform the U.S. tax code.
The group of top corporate PACs also included an entity affiliated with Koch Industries Inc., an industrial and commodities conglomerate that ranks as one of the nation's largest privately owned companies.
The Portland Business Journal is a KGW News partner.