Oregon’s governor received a last-minute political donation from the president of a company that raked in $1 billion from taxpayer-funded contracts and has nearly $444 million at stake, an investigation uncovered.
Phil Fogg, CEO and President of Marquis Companies – an Oregon-based provider for assisted living, rehab and Alzheimer’s facilities – donated $5,000 to Kate Brown two days before she was elected governor, Oregon campaign data shows. That was Fogg’s only donation to the 2016 gubernatorial race.
Marquis holds 10 contracts worth nearly $444 million that are set to expire during the Democratic governor’s term, contracting data obtained by the nonprofit watchdog group Open the Books shows.
Meanwhile, Brown’s win was expected without Fogg’s donation: She was polling as high as 14 points over her opponent just before the election, she was the incumbent (after her predecessor resigned over a scandal), and Oregon’s last Republican governor left office in 1987. Brown won by seven points.
"The governor and attorney general have a huge conflict of interest problem of their own making," Open The Books CEO Adam Andrzejewski told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Companies that received at least $2.6 billion through Oregon contracts have donated nearly $806,000 to Brown and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum since 2012, Andrzejewski wrote in Forbes Monday.
"At the federal level, individuals and entities negotiating or working under federal contracts are prohibited from giving political cash to candidates, Andrzejewski "In Oregon, however, that’s perfectly legal, but it looks very, very bad."
"That’s why they face a painful choice – continue a system of patronage or embrace reform," he continued.
Oregon Rep. Knute Buehler, a Republican, proposed a constitutional amendment Monday that would bar state contractors and labor unions from donating to campaigns.
Marquis has raked in more than one-third, or $1 billion, of the $2.6 billion donating companies have received through Oregon-funded contracts, according to contracting data Open The Books shared with TheDCNF.
Each of Marquis 34 contracts were awarded by Oregon’s Department of Human Services. Its two largest contracts were both worth nearly $75 million for "nursing facility services," data shows. Both five-year contracts are set to expire Jan. 31, 2019, just weeks after Brown is either replaced or inaugurated for her second full term.
The largest contract set to expire during Brown’s current term is for "nursing facility services," is worth more than $73 million, and will end Sept. 30, 2017.
The federal government often funds a portion of these state contracts.
Neither Marquis nor the Department of Human Services nor Brown’s office returned requests for comment.
Note: Open The Books obtained its data from the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. Any data discrepancies are a result of the Oregon government’s own data inaccuracies.