Republican Senate hopeful Monica Wehby's campaign touts her private sector experience, emphasizing that as a doctor, she ran a small business and "created jobs." But the Oregon candidate's investment history includes a significant stumble.
Wehby owns a stake in a flailing beef startup that owed more than $100,000 in property taxes to Clackamas County, Oregon, as of June 30, 2014, according to county records and her own financial disclosure form.
Wehby's campaign says that her investment is small -- currently a 1.5 percent stake -- and that she hasn't made any money on it and has no insight into the company's daily operations. Her financial disclosure form lists her as a "Member" of American Beef Processing LLC since December 2010, a term her campaign says was given to early investors in the project. But investors in startups often have substantial input into how a company is run without holding an official position at the firm.
Individual investors are not typically liable for the tax bills of the companies they own stakes in, and there is no evidence that Wehby did anything illegal. She lists the value of her American Beef Processing stake between zero and $1,001, and her annual income from the stake between zero and $201. (Personal financial disclosure forms require federal candidates to post valuation ranges, rather than specific amounts.) Federal candidates are not required to declare themselves as holding any kind of formal position in a company when they function as an ordinary passive investor.
But the startup hasn't done well. The Clackamas County Clerk's office lists two properties owned by American Beef Processing that owed a total of $103,414.62 in delinquent taxes. One property owed $81,232.66 in taxes, accrued from 2009 to 2012, and another owed $22,181.96, accrued in 2012. Both properties are listed at 15501 SE Piazza Ave. in Clackamas County, and the clerk's office confirmed to HuffPost that they are owned by American Beef Processing. The documents can be viewed here and here.
Wehby lists her work with American Beef Processing under "Positions Held Outside U.S. Government," a disclosure category that "includes, but is not limited to an officer, director, trustee, general partner, proprietor, representative, employee, or consultant of any corporation, firm, partnership, or other business enterprise or non-profit organization or educational institution." The American Beef Processing position is listed alongside her job as a doctor at Legacy Health Systems, her gig as a trustee of the American Medical Association and another "member" post with Ecola Point Development LLC. Wehby made about $1 million from her medical practice and the AMA position. Her Ecola Point stake is valued between $1,000,001 and $5 million, with an income also between zero and $201.
In her quest to unseat Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Wehby has received millions of dollars in support from the Koch brothers but still trails the first-term senator in the polls.