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Follow the money: Legislators' donors online

By Joe Burns
Published On: Jan 29 2013 08:24:16 PM CST

We all know politicians need money to help them get elected but just who do our local state lawmakers get their money from? We show you a website that reveals exactly where every penny comes from.

SALEM, Ore. -

In just five days, the 2013 Oregon legislative session gets under way in Salem.

This year, more than $21 million was contributed to help get candidates elected.

In fact, two Central Oregon legislators were among the top 15 in money raised.

The National Institute on Money in State Politics put together a website, Follow The Money -- a database showing just who contributed to our lawmakers' campaigns.

It takes money to get elected, and Central Oregon candidates had no trouble doing that.

Of all the statewide candidates, two Central Oregonians were ranked in the top 15 in contributions.

State Sen. Tim Knopp, and Rep. Jason Conger, both R-Bend, each raised around $300,000.

Three local Republican state senators were in the top 20 including Knopp, Ted Ferrioli of John Day and Doug Whitsett of Klamath Falls.

In the house, Conger was in the top five.

So where did all that money come from?

Knopp's biggest contributor was Loren Parks, a billionaire businessman who has donated millions to various Oregon political campaigns.

Feriolli's largest contributor was the Associated Oregon Loggers, a business group that helps contract logging firms and logging businesses. The group was also Sunriver state Rep. Gene Whisnant's top contributor.

Also in the House, James Bisenius, the CEO of Common Sense Investment Management, was Conger's top contributor. His company is in charge of almost $4 billion in investments.
 
Powell Butte state representative and House Minority Leader Mike McLane's,biggest contribution came from from the Oregon Transformation Project, a Lake Oswego-based conservative group.

The Dalles Rep. John Huffman's top contributors were a tie: the Oregon Health Care Association, which represents seven Medicaid-based care organizations, and the Coalition for a Healthy Oregon, which represents senior housing.

Whitsett's biggest donor? His wife -- state Rep. Gail Whitsett.

Whether any of the donors will have an impact on lawmakers' votes will be more clear after the Legislature begins its work in February.

If you would like to see where the money for your lawmakers came from, you can visit http://www.followthemoney.org/database/StateGlance/district.phtml?s=OR&px=44.2998485&py=-120.8344664

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