Local businessman David Madore put another $100,000 into his political action committee NoTolls.com this week, bringing the total amount of money he’s spent in this election to nearly $180,000.
Madore, owner of US Digital in northeast Vancouver, has stepped up in the last six months to become the leading local donor in this fall’s election — founding his PAC and contributing to the campaigns of nine Republicans and one nonpartisan candidate who all support his views opposing tolling and light rail.
Speculation has abounded that Madore is planning on spending hundreds of thousands of his own money on independent contributions — like television and radio ads or mailings — on behalf of the candidates through his NoTolls.com PAC.
Public Disclosure Commission laws forbid political action committees or anyone who wishes to make an independent contribution from informing the benefitting candidate in any way.
So, Madore said Thursday that he can’t reveal his plans for the new infusion of cash.
“You could guess that” it’s planned for independent expenditures, he said. “But I’m not really free to say yet.”
Ballots for the Nov. 2 election will be mailed Wednesday.
PDC filings show that NoTolls.com has raised $155,665 and spent $34,385. To compare, the Southwest Washington Electricians PAC — a frequent Democratic supporter — reports raising $58,363 and spending $41,796 as of Thursday evening.
Clark County does not have many local political action committees; other big donors, such as the Washington Education Association PAC, donate from a statewide pot of money.
Madore has thrown his support —in the form of both individual donations and through NoTolls.com — to candidates for the state legislature, Clark County Board of Commissioners and Vancouver City Council who are against tolling and light rail on the proposed Columbia River Crossing project.
Some candidates may have a small voice in the process, but critics say Madore is also fooling voters into thinking that other candidates he’s supporting — like those in the county assessor, treasurer and prosecuting attorney races — have anything to do with tolling.
“Too bad he isn’t choosing to put that money into more productive efforts in our community,” said Mayor Tim Leavitt, who has been at the blunt end of much of Madore’s criticism. “Clearly, Mr. Madore is passionate about his cause, and as a citizen in our community, he has every right to funnel his own money into efforts to promote his cause.”
Madore said he and his wife, Donna, have not given the maximum $1,600 each to every candidate they support. He said he is in favor of candidates who aren’t beholden to “special interests” like engineers, developers and others that would benefit from a bridge project.
He has said that he has no ulterior motives or potential financial gain in his support of numerous candidates.
“The difference between this contribution and the other contributions that you get there, is this is all about sacrifice,” Madore said. “I realize that citizens need to sacrifice to unselfishly serve their community. I lead by example, and that’s the best example I can give.”
Andrea Damewood: 360-735-4542 or email@example.com.