Jackley and the appearance of pay to play

If elected, Jackley will have some big no-bid contracts for legal services to hand out. Will the contracts go to his biggest contributors? The Second Century Political Action Committee is an in-state pac that has made some big contributions. Most recently the recipient has been Marty Jackley.

This political action committee is very closely tied to the Woods Fuller law firm. The knot is very, very tight. Almost every contribution to the pac comes from Woods Fuller attorneys. The pac has made very large contributions to the campaigns of previous governors.

And the firm has received some very lucrative contracts from the state. In 2017, the firm received two contracts to provide legal services to the Bureau of Administration for an amount not to exceed $400,000, and a second not to exceed $100,000 to represent the state on matters of intellectual property issues. Similar contracts went to the firm in 2018 in amounts not to exceed $600,000 and $100,000 respectively.

The contracts are sole source. No bidding is required. The Governor picks. No matter how it is handled the final choice belongs to the Governor. Nothing illegal in this, but it looks terrible.

And this brings us to Marty Jackley, candidate for governor. The Friends of Marty Jackley committee received $20,000 from Second Century in 2016 (see the year end report dated February 6, 2017), and Jackley for Governor received $15,000 from Second Century (disclosed on the year end report dated January 26, 2018). This is far more than Second Century contributed to any other candidate in 2016 or 2017. More than the contributions to all other candidates combined several times over.

Candidate Jackley is vitally concerned about reform. Or he says he is. Is he concerned about campaign finance reform that would remove the appearance of pay-to-play? It's not that hard. Just don't give contracts to contributors and don't hide behind the technicalities of political action committees.

If Jackley becomes governor, will his administration be influenced by big contributions? He seems to think that a member of congress taking money from Washington pacs is more than a little suspect.

Jackley doesn't need legislative action to promise not to give contracts to any individual or entity that contributes more than, let's say, $5,000. It doesn't require a task force or committee. He could make that pledge today. And promise an open RFP process for no-bid contracts for legal services. The law still says the Governor gets to pick, but a more open process might avoid appearances of pay-to-play.

DB Cooper