Oregon Delegation Raises $4.7 Million for Federal Campaigns

Rep. Greg Walden raised even more than the state’s two senators in the first six months of 2017, including more than $500,000 from the healthcare industry even as he helped push a Trumpcare bill that most of the industry hated.

Oregon’s congressional delegation raised $4.7 million in the first six months of 2017, amassing an impressive reelection war chest even though no seat has switched party hands in the state since 2008.

The state’s sole Republican, Rep. Greg Walden of Hood River, raked in $1.7 million -- nearly four times as much as the nearest Democratic congressman, Rep. Kurt Schrader of Canby, who raised $445,000.

This data comes from Open Secrets, which publishes campaign finance reports on its website.

Walden benefits from being in the majority party, and is a member of the Republican leadership and the chairman of the Energy & Commerce Committee. He was tasked with shepherding the first version of Trumpcare, which would have severely cut Medicaid and caused 22 million people to lose health insurance, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

In the months surrounding the debate, Walden received $502,000 just from the healthcare industry. But despite overwhelming opposition to Trumpcare from most quarters of the healthcare system, he forged ahead and the bill passed the House by a narrow vote.

Walden raised $231,000 from the pharmaceutical companies, $167,000 from health professionals and $74,000 from health service companies and $26,400 from Blue Cross Blue Shield.

He also received $25,000 from hospitals and nursing homes. His leading individual contributors include for-profit dialysis company DaVita Healthcare, $13,000, and McKennon Corp., a pharmaceutical distributor, $12,500.

Walden’s top professional group donor was the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians, $10,000. He also received $10,000 from the Association for Accessible Medicines -- formerly the Generic Pharmaceutical Association -- and $10,000 from three pharmaceutical companies -- Abbott Laboratories, Allergan and Novartis.

Schrader received $84,000 from the healthcare sector, including $38,000 from pharmaceutical companies and $23,000 from health service companies. He received $5,500 from Blue Cross Blue Shield and $5,400 from FamilyCare Health.

Pfizer gave Schrader $5,000, as did UnitedHealthCare.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Portland, raised $267,000 -- $48,000 from the healthcare industry. He received $20,000 from health service companies, $19,000 from health professionals and $7,000 from hospitals, as well as $2,000 from pharmaceutical companies.

His biggest single source of funding was from DaVita, which gave him $10,000. Blumenauer reported $4,000 from the American Academy of Dermatology as well as the American College of Physicians.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Portland, raised $225,000, with $15,000 of that from the healthcare industry. The bulk of that, $11,000, came from health professionals, including the American Occupational Therapist Association, which gave her $3,500.

Rep. Peter DeFazio raised $281,000, but just $1,600 of that came from the healthcare sector, including $500 from PeaceHealth. He notedly didn’t take any money from pharmaceutical companies, and in the last full campaign finance cycle he reported just $107 from drug companies.

The Open Secrets website logs campaign finance transactions for senators according to a six-year cycle, the same as a senate term, as opposed to a two-year cycle like representatives shorter terms. Both of Oregon’s senators are Democrats, with Ron Wyden having replaced Republican Bob Packwood in 1996 and Jeff Merkley defeating Republican Gordon Smith in 2008.

Wyden won re-election last year, while Merkley won re-election in 2014. Neither will be up for election next year. Merkley will have to face voters again in 2020.

In the past six years, Wyden has raised $12.6 million to Merkley’s $12.1 million. In the first half of 2017, Merkley raised $1.3 million to Wyden’s $450,000.

Since 2013, Wyden has raised $1.8 million from the healthcare industry, including $480,000 from hospitals, $474,000 from health professionals, $428,000 from pharmaceutical companies and $353,000 from health services/insurance companies.

Blue Cross Blue Shield has given him $75,000, compared to $45,000 from DaVita and $34,000 from Vibra Healthcare, which runs a for-profit rehabilitation hospital in Portland. Wyden received $29,000 from healthcare service provider Kindred Healthcare followed by $26,000 from Providence Health & Services.

The donation tallies are compiled from political action committees as well as individual contributions from executives.

Merkley took in much less from the healthcare sector -- $262,000, led by $168,000 from health professionals, $40,000 from health service companies, $25,000 from hospitals and $21,000 from pharmaceutical companies.

Merkley received $30,000 from Oregon Health & Science University executives as well as $17,000 from Planned Parenthood and $12,000 from Kaiser Permanente.

Reach Chris Gray at [email protected].

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