The Oregonian pries the $785,000 truth out of Liberty NorthwestSurprise, surprise. The insurance company Liberty Northwest is bankrolling the non-profit political action committee (PAC) that is mounting the campaign to abolish the State Accident Insurance Fund (SAIF). Many suspected that was the case. The Oregonian confirmed it on Sunday. Liberty Northwest has given more than $700,000 to Oregonians for Sound Economic Policy.

Liberty Northwest was reluctant to have its sibling relationship with Oregonians for Sound Economic Policy revealed, even though the law requires non-profits to make tax returns of PACs available. The names of the PAC's directors were blacked out on the copies of forms given to The Oregonian. It also appears the political action committee made a $60,000 loan to an unidentified person, which appears to violate the law that governs PACs.

One of the PAC's directors, Fred VanNatta, acknowledged the tactic of avoiding disclosure of its relationship with Liberty Northwest. "We initially didn't want that to be known," said VanNatta.

When the Progressive movement in 1910 enshrined the initiative and referendum in the Oregon Constitution, its leaders could not have foreseen the day when a huge corporation such as Liberty Northwest would use the initiative to create a subterfuge for the purpose of hijacking a public corporation for immense financial profit.

There is a lot at stake in the ballot measure that Liberty Northwest has effectively put on the ballot. Small businesses rely upon SAIF. Oregon farmers absolutely depend upon it. So do local governments. SAIF has been one of state government's major success stories, providing low rates to a broad swath of Oregon enterprise.

Liberty Northwest's wholly-owned PAC has spent $227,155 on legal and lobbying work performed by the Portland lawyer John DiLorenzo.

DiLorenzo has won court judgments that hold SAIF in contempt for not revealing documents.

The new DNA evidence that establishes Liberty Northwest's relationship to Oregonians for Sound Economic Policy begs a question. Who's really in contempt here? By their extreme reluctance to reveal the truth that Liberty Northwest is spending a vast sum on an initiative to abolish its competitor, Liberty Northwest and Mr. DiLorenzo have demonstrated contempt for the voters of Oregon.


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