Peter Goldmark is the Democrat running for Public Lands Commissioner in Washington State. According to the latest Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) reports Peter Goldmark has out raised his Republican opponent Doug Sutherland, the incumbent, $841,775 to $578,052. Goldmark’s fundraising is impressive considering that about 50% of Sutherland’s money is coming from timber and mining interests.
But lurking in the shadows is an independent PAC called the Committee for Balanced Stewardship. It has a war chest totalling $594,910. In 2004 this same committee spent over $322,000 doing last minute mailers supporting Doug Sutherland’s campaign for Public Lands Commissioner. Sutherland won that race against Mike Cooper.
The Committee for Balanced Stewardship is going to again spend all its money to try to re-elect Sutherland. But something is wrong when a special interest PAC comprised of mostly timber interests is raising more money to support the candidate than the candidate is raising.
And to top things off many of these timber and mining interests are giving to both campaign committees. Over half of the contributions to Sutherland campaign are from timber and mining interests.
Contributions directly to Sutherland’s campaign are limited to $1600 per election (primary and general are separate elections). But the same contributor giving money to a PAC like the so called Committee for Balanced Growth can contribute as much as they want to try to influence the outcome of the election.
That’s why you’ll see Weyerhauser has given Sutherland’s campaign $1400 but has also given the Committee for Balanced Stewardship $100,000. So much for limiting the influence of big money in elections. As long as the loophole exists that money given to a so-called independent PAC has no limits, companies like Weyerhauser will use their corporate dollars to try to disproportionately influence the outcome of the election to get their candidate elected.
This loophole gives big money interests that stand to profit from the election of their candidate a decided and unfair advantage in trying to influence the outcome of the election. Regular donors who give directly to the candidate, see their ability to affect the outcome of the election diminished.
The loophole as written for no limits on contributions to independent PAC’s says if you are wealthy or have corporate money to spend, you have a huge advantage in trying to affect the outcome of the election by your greater ability to reach the voters with your message.
So who is basically skirting campaign contributions limits to Sutherland by giving to the so-called independent PAC. Here’s the list of corporate interests donating to the Committee for Balanced Stewardship that is trying to keep Republican Sutherland in office:
Weyerhauser, Federal Way,WA $100,000
Hampton Affiliates, Portland, OR $75,000
Rayonier, Jacksonville, FL $75,000
Glacier NW, Port Angeles, WA $50,000
Green Crow, Port Angeles, WA $25,000
Sierra Pacific Industries, Redding, CA $25,000
Port Blakely Tree Farms, Tumwater, WA $20,000
Stimson Lumber Co, Portland, OR $20,000
Longview Timber Co, Longview, WA $25,000
Green Diamond, Shelton, WA $25,000
Olympic Resource Mgt, Poul;sbo, WA $15,000
Simpson, Tacoma, WA $12,500
Murray Pacific, Tacoma, WA $20,000
Vaagen Brothers, Colville, WA $5000
With the Committee for Balanced Stewardship’s money and Sutherland’s campaign money, timber and mining interests will comprise about 3/4 of the money spent to try to re-elect Doug Sutherland. They want to keep their cozy relationship with the current Commissioner of Public Lands. All the more reason to vote for Peter Goldmark. Public lands should be for public good not private gain.