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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Lifeless Ordinary

Not surprisingly, Mark Nelson, OPRI Lobbyist, is about as popular as the plague for all his work for anti-tax clients. Nelson was recently ranked as one of the most "awful" lobbyists by a recent article in the Portland Mercury. Today, it was announced that the Association of Oregon Faculties, which represents faculty members in the Oregon University System, parted ways with Nelson (see article in Blue Oregon by Carla Axtman). They gave him his walking papers because they had become fed up with his work with clients taking stands inimical to what AOF represented, and they were getting a lot of flak from their members about this association. One wonders what it will take to get OPRI to part ways with Nelson. He is a cancer and a pox and I will not encourage anyone to donate to OPRI's lobbying fund - indeed I will encourage people to sit on their wallets - if OPRI does not tear up their contract with Public Affairs Counsel (Nelson's firm). In addition to Mark Nelson, they also employ, David Reinhardt, the former conservative columnist from the Oregonian whose hatred of public employees was palpable in his columns. Nelson and his group may be effective in its lobbying efforts - something the Mercury acknowledges - but they are regarded as utter scumbags by those interviewed for the Mercury's piece. So, AOF has gotten religion and dissassociated itself with Nelson and his band of merry pranksters, while OPRI does nothing. Sooner or later, this association with Public Affairs Counsel will come back to bite OPRI really hard, in the pocketbook where it will hurt most. Since there are alternative lobbying firms that have both good reputations as progressive, and equal effectiveness as Nelson, it makes no sense for OPRI to continue in this unhealthy relationship. OPRI needs a divorce soon. Otherwise their effectiveness, whatever it is, will be diminished by its affiliation with a lobbying firm that is consistently on the wrong side of issues that affect PERS members and retirees. AOF got the message. Will OPRI? I'd suggest you contact OPRI to register your displeasure, but all OPRI email and phone calls go directly to Mark Nelson's group. OPRI contracts out all business operations of the organization to Mark Nelson's Public Affairs Counsel. This makes it hard to criticize OPRI's affiliation since we have the fox guarding the henhouse. So, I think that would not be the obvious way to go. Perhaps by tomorrow I can get together a poll posted on this blog that will give OPRI some feedback on how we, as members, feel about continuing this unhealthy relationship. Look for a poll in tomorrow's blog followup. Feel free to add your comments as well to this post. The more the merrier.


MollyNCharlie said...

You are right Marc. I broke my long standing tradition last year and stopped donating to the OPRI Political fund. They aren't getting my money this year either. I'll resume political donations to OPRI only when they change lobbyists.


mrfearless47 said...

Yes, I agree. And the poll results above suggest that we are not alone in our unhappiness with Nelson's mercenary representation of anyone who will pay him. It also means that the one who pays the most gets the best representation and the ones who pay the least get whatever little time is leftover unless it directly conflicts with a primary client's representation.