Yet another Oregon Democrat has been caught in an environmental conflict of interest plot that stinks of corruption. According to the Oregonian, state Sen. Chip Shields helped draft and advocate for environmental legislation that would help his family business reap large profits. The Oregonian,
“House Bill 3052 would require contractors to use biodegradable lubricants in publicly funded construction and maintenance projects, which could substantially benefit companies that make the lubricants. The idea came about when Shields — whose family owns Schaeffer Specialized Lubricants in St. Louis and who personally sells biodegradable lubricants in Oregon — asked Rep. Lew Frederick, a fellow Portland Democrat, to carry the bill in his stead.”
The Willamette Week broke the story, pointing out that Shields lists Schaeffer Manufacturing as a leading source of his income on his state financial disclosure form. Additionally, “campaign finance filings show that Shields’ largest individual political contributors include John Schaeffer Shields, then the CEO of Schaeffer Manufacturing ($5,000) and Jay Schaeffer Shields, the president of Schaeffer ($5,000), who gave Shields the money in 2011.” Both contributors are described as Shields’ “immediate family,” both would stand to benefit from the legislation.
Shields and Frederick both insisted they had good intentions for the bill, but the way the pair went about introduction the legislation was questionable… to say the least. The Willamette Week,
“The bill that could benefit the company and Shields was introduced on March 10 by Rep. Lew Frederick (D-Portland), whose district overlaps with Shields’. In legislative testimony, Frederick described Shields merely as a “constituent.”
“The ideas behind this bill came from one of my constituents, Chip Shields,” Frederick testified before the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Government Effectiveness on Tuesday. “He works for a company that includes a product line of biodegradable lubricants, and since he has a conflict, he brought the idea to me to consider in the House.”
“He helped me understand this issue and assemble my testimony for today,” Frederick added.
“In his testimony, Frederick did not elaborate on Shields’ potential conflict, nor did any committee member ask him about it. A lobbyist for Association of Oregon Counties testified against the bill, citing cost concerns but did not cite Shields’ possible financial interest in the bill.
“Frederick tells WW that he thought it unnecessary to inform the committee that Shields was a state senator because all lawmakers know who he is. Frederick also says he knew Shields now works for a company that sells lubricants, but he says he did not know Shields is a shareholder in a lubricant company his family owns.”
Shields has since backed away from the environmental legislation, but not before first proving that there really seems to be no end to Democrat corruption when it comes to their “green” interests.