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Congressman Peter DeFazio, a Democrat representing Oregons 4th district and a founding member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, has some serious explaining to do. The far left Democrat is currently running for a 13th term in the House and may have not been entirely honest with Oregonians over his 26 year career.
Since April of 2001, DeFazio has been an officer of a business entity known as The Oregon Kiwi Group, which operated as an “assumed business name” excluding it from required state licensing and disclosures. (The Oregon Secretary of State’s record of The Oregon Kiwi Group is available here.) The business was apparently allowed to expire in 2007, however this ambiguous corporate entity has yet to be explored, and Mr. DeFazio has never publicly commented on his involvement.
DeFazio has never disclosed any income related to the Oregon Kiwi Group in his mandated financial disclosures to the U.S. House Ethics Clerk; however, he does disclose three bank accounts in New Zealand, rental income and real estate in New Zealand. Moreover, DeFazio has received more than $25,000 from Weyehaeuser, a major timber corporation. Interestingly, Frederick S. Benson III, former Weyerhaeuser VP of Federal and International Affairs, became President of the United States-New Zealand Council in 2001—the same year DeFazio purchased property in New Zealand and formed the Oregon Kiwi Group.
Mr. DeFazio’s financial disclosures may be found at the House Ethics Clerk’s site. The Congressman reports that he and his wife own a half share of a vacation home at 36 Hempleman, Akaroa, and a wholly owned retirement home at 335 Anakiwa, Anakiwa, both properties in New Zealand of course. The high-end value of the former real estate investment is reported at $250,000, while the latter is listed at $500,000.
I believe we would be Naive to assume that the Oregon Kiwi Group was not related to Mr. DeFazio’s foreign investments in New Zealand, given the term “Kiwi” is often used as slang for New Zealand natives.
The secret corporate life of Congressman DeFazio on its own calls into question his integrity, but there are two more interesting bits of information I must inquire about. First, property records, obtained by DC Sleuth.com indicate that in 2001 DeFazio’s associate John Ebeling, one of four registered officers of the Oregon Kiwi Group, paid $75,000 for a property at 1301 Lincoln St, Eugene OR, worth $456,293.
In addition, Deschutes County property records show that Peter DeFazio, his wife Myrnie L. Daut, John Ebeling and his wife Gerilyn Baxter co-own a second property in La Pine, Oregon.
An activist associated with DCSleuth, who agreed to discuss the investigation under the condition of anonymity, declined to speculate on the purpose of The Oregon Kiwi Group. However, the source, which is familiar with DCSleuth’s operation, said that if DeFazio is not forthcoming with details, the group is prepared to release further information.
“Our investigation revealed that [DeFazio] shared a Eugene PO Box with Gary Gillespie, the late president of the Oregon AFSCME, and two other individuals,” said the activist.
In light of the discrepancies surrounding Congressman DeFazio’s ethics filings, the secret nature of the Oregon Kiwi Group and the shady nature of property acquisitions associated with it, I believe it is appropriate for us to call on Congressman DeFazio to offer an explanation of his association with this organization as well as the ambiguous real estate dealings both here and abroad.