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Mon Jan 30, 2017, 10:42 AM

Oregon lawmakers pay their businesses with campaign funds - it's legal, but is it ethical?

Eighteen times in the last decade state Sen. Kim Thatcher's campaign account has written checks to businesses she owns.

It's all perfectly legal, and Thatcher, a Republican from Keizer, says she was given approval by elections officials to make the payments.

But the transactions raise questions about how the campaign accounts of state lawmakers intersect with their private businesses. Campaign donors expect their money to be spent getting candidates elected. The wrinkle is, it's unusual for candidates to pay themselves in the process.

"Are there ethical flags raised? All over the place," said Jim Moore, professor and director of Pacific University's Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation. He characterized lawmakers hiring their own businesses with campaign funds as "something akin to money laundering."

Read more: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2017/01/oregon_lawmakers_pay_their_businesses.html

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