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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Conflict Of 'O'nterest in Measure 66/67 Ad?

Posted by Matt Davis on Tue, Jan 26, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Another chapter in the controversy over the Oregonian's endorsement of a "no" vote on measures 66 and 67.

The Mercury has been hearing strange tips this afternoon from deep throat sources. We've been told, somewhat unreliably as far as sources go, that the effort to push for the Measure 66/67 ad originated with the paper's General Advertising Manager Debi Walery. The rumor as it stands: Walery, it's understood, suggested the "no on 66/67" ad idea to the "no" campaign. As I say, that's on pretty shaky ground, in terms of factual accuracy, because our source is hardly rock solid. Walery is also on a plane right now, according to her assistant, and so, we can't ask her personally whether our deep throat is full of it. So take this paragraph for what it's worth, and we'll get back to you with Walery's response as soon as we have it.

Nevertheless there is a remarkably close relationship between Walery and the "no on 66/67" campaign, that bears printing without caveats. You may be interested to know that Walery is on the board of the Northwest Grocery Association, which paid for the ad. Here's the association's 2008 tax return:

IRS RETURN FOR NORTHWEST GROCERS ASSOCIATION
  • IRS RETURN FOR NORTHWEST GROCER'S ASSOCIATION
FEATURING BOARD MEMBER, DEBI WALERY
  • FEATURING BOARD MEMBER, DEBI WALERY
The Northwest Grocery Association, which just confirmed that Walery is still on its board, is also the top contributor to the "no" campaign, giving $356,700 so far, according to records tracked by Oregon Common Cause. We also have a call in to Oregonian publisher N.Christian Anderson III seeking comment. So, what do you think: Is the connection between Walery, the Oregonian, and the "no" campaign, ethical? Or not?

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