Loren Parks (born in 1926) is a businessman from the U.S. state of Nevada. He previously lived in Oregon (from 1957–2002), and is the biggest political contributor in the history of that state. He has financed numerous ballot measure initiative petitions and campaigns since the mid-1990s. He has also contributed heavily to races for prominent offices by his attorney, and frequent chief petitioner of ballot campaigns, Kevin Mannix.
Parks later started a business while living in Aloha, Oregon. He founded Parks Medical Electronics in 1961. The business sells a number of instruments, including a plethysmograph, which measures the blood flow to sexual organs and is used in treating sexual dysfunction and assessing the arousal of sex offenders.
Influential in Oregon politics
From 1996 to 2006, Parks contributed over $6 million to various political campaigns – far more than any other individual, and more than most organized lobbies. His entry into backing political concerns followed the passage of Ballot Measure 5 in 1990. His support was instrumental in launching Oregon Taxpayers United, according to executive director Bill Sizemore.
Parks has been a strong supporter of former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Kevin Mannix. Mannix has served as Parks' attorney. Parks' staff once said: "Mr. Parks thinks Kevin is one of the few leaders who keeps his word and gets things done."
Parks has not indiscriminately backed Mannix's proposed measures. In 2008, for instance, he declined to fund a proposed initiative that would have allowed for expanded local regulation of strip clubs. As a result, Mannix stopped pursuing ballot qualification.
Parks is also a major contributor to charitable organizations, including health care and environmental concerns.
- "Loren Parks responds". The Oregonian. October 13, 2008.
- Smith, Carlton (April 19, 2006). "The Man Behind Mannix: Reclusive Republican moneyman Loren Parks finally talks.". Willamette Week.
- Cain, Brad (December 13, 2008). "Ore. ballot measure system under scrutiny". Associated Press (OregonLive.com).
- Budnick, Nick (May 15, 2002). "Dirty old [money] man: GOP bankroller Loren Parks hit with sexual-harassment charges.". Willamette Week.
- Law, Steve (January 15, 2008). "Mannix drops strip-club regulation initiative". Portland Tribune.
- Lehman, Chris (July 7, 2008). "Signature Gathering Fueled By Handful of Donors". Oregon Public Broadcasting.
- Budnick, Nick (November 6, 2008). "Voters slap down Sizemore, Mannix ballot measures: Legislative version of tough-on-crime measure and double-majority law repeal both are passing". Portland Tribune.