Group ‘Priority Oregon’ launches ad attacks at Gov. Brown

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — An Oregon non-profit is on the attack, aiming political advertisements at Oregon Governor Kate Brown 2 months into an election year. 

On Sunday, Priority Oregon, a political group whose mission is to support public policies “that will help grow our economy and create new family supporting jobs,” broadcast an advertisement, citing gaps in Brown’s oversight over the state’s child daycare system after a recent audit from the Secretary of State. 

“We feel that it was important for Oregonians to hear what is actually going on in daycares in the state and how state government seems to put this issue on the back-burner for 2 years  when they had an internal state audit,” said Erica Hetfeld, the executive director of Priority Oregon. 

“Oregon kids and their safety should be their top priority, and it’s clear that it’s not.”

Brown’s Campaign Advisor, Thomas Wheatley, released this statement in response to the advertisement: 

“This distorted ad dredges up old news in search of new controversy. 
All of these facilities have been permanently closed. Governor Brown ended the agency’s use of a PR firm months ago and replaced the agency director because she feels strongly that we must protect our children.

Unfortunately the point of this ad has nothing to do with children and everything to do with politics. 
Before viewers believe a word in this distorted ad, they should ask who is behind it and why the backers of this dark money group are hiding their identities from public scrutiny. And viewers should ask why this group is distributing false information in an blatant attempt to tear down a governor who has been a force for children’s health and welfare for her entire career.”

Political expert Jim Moore watched the advertisement, and he said “the message of the ads is really not different then from what statewide republican candidates have been trying to pin on democratic candidates for the past 10 years.”

Moore also said, when it comes to political advertisements, that it’s important to understand their motivation: who made them, who their donors are, who benefits the most from them. 

So who exactly is Priority Oregon and who funds them? Aside from their mission, that answer isn’t known. 

“Who is Priority Oregon’s biggest backers?” KOIN 6 News asked Hetfeld. 

“We comply with all disclosure laws just like League of Women Voters or Oregon League of Conservation Voters,” Hetfeld said. “We don’t disclose our membership list to other groups.”

“Why is that?” asked KOIN 6 News reporter Eileen Park. 

“We want to make sure people understand that there are issues going on with the state government that are important for them to know,” responded Hetfeld.

“Why this could of secrecy regarding who your donors are who’s on your board of directors?” Park questioned.

We comply with all disclosure laws according to Federal and State Government,” Hetfeld reiterated.

You can watch the advertisement below