After reading a recent article in The Bulletin pertaining to the relationship between state senate candidate Tim Knopp and Loren Parks, I had immediate concerns and did some further research. Turns out that Loren Parks, a man who had sex with hypnotized women as part of medical treatment, is not the only dubious supporter of Tim Knopp. The Republican candidate has raised a lot of money from individuals who have done more damage to our Democratic process than good.Karl Rove, for instance, should not be regarded as a hero. His nefarious approach to politics and his support for unlimited corporate campaign contributions is antithetical to good government and yet he was invited to Bend to speak at a $2,500-a-plate dinner, sponsored by Tim Knopp's PAC. When Tim Knopp has such a large fundraising advantage over his opponent, why does he need this elitist, out-of-touch dinner that most Central Oregonians can’t even afford to participate in?
In addition to the $25,000 from Loren Parks and support from Karl Rove, Tim Knopp has also received $5,000 from the Koch brothers, whose sole agenda is to maximize corporate profits through political influence. Then there's the $10,000 from alcohol and big tobacco groups. For someone who’s running on a family values platform, Knopp sure has the support of the "who's who" of dirty politics.
When asked about the money from Loren Parks, Knopp responded that the endeavors of his contributors should be irrelevant, and that he can't control the behavior of his donors. That may be true, but we are starting to see a pattern. Those who are a part of Tim Knopp's massive special interests fundraising are not looking out for the interest of everyday Central Oregonians. Does anybody bother to ask what Loren Parks gets in return for a $25,000 dollar political contribution to a state senate candidate who doesn't even live in the same state?
The truth is, the largest contributors to political campaigns inevitably get something in return. When someone says that a donor's priorities will have no impact on their governing policies, they are—at best—guilty of being naïve and—at worst—willfully deceiving voters.
We are somewhat limited in combating the large-scale corruption in national politics, but on the local level our vote carries greater impact. If voters are really concerned with the state of politics today, then we must speak with our vote. Politicians can—and will—clean up their acts if they feel their constituency is watchful and willing to hold them accountable. When such a small number of voters turn out in local elections, the scope of responsibility is magnified for those who are engaged and do vote locally. We must, as a community, assume the responsibility to declare with our collective voting power that those who are bought off by outside special interests will not have the opportunity to serve us in the state legislature.
Knopp is the perfect example of an entrenched politician who prioritizes profits over people, rigid ideology over compromise, and extremism over moderation. I plan to exercise my local voting power to put someone into office that will represent the unique makeup that exists in Central Oregon. I am tired of putting people into office who pander to the extremes and accomplish nothing. I want someone who understands the need for moderation to get things done in the current political landscape. Join me in voting against dirty political money.