To the Editor:
Oregon Trail Electric Consumer Cooperative is a nonprofit corporate utility incorporated in the state of Oregon as a consumer cooperative. Its purpose, as stated in the articles of incorporation, is to be a cooperative electric utility providing the essential public service of helping its members to have access to the electrical energy that is so necessary to their lives.
The purposes of the cooperative are stated specifically in the Articles of Incorporation:
"1. To benefit primarily residential and small farm consumers of electric energy.
2. To generate, manufacture, purchase, acquire and accumulate electric energy for its members only and to transmit, distribute, furnish, sell and dispose of such electric energy to its members only, and to construct, purchase, lease as lessee and in any manner acquire, own, hold, maintain, operate, sell, dispose of, lease as lessor, exchange and mortgage plants, buildings, works, machinery, supplies, apparatus, equipment and electric transmission and distribution lines or systems, necessary, convenient or appropriate to accomplish any or all of the purposes of the cooperative. ...
5. To assist its members to wire their premises and install therein electrical and plumbing appliances, fixtures, machinery, supplies, apparatus and equipment of any and all kinds and character, and, in connection therewith and for such purposes, to purchase, acquire, lease, sell, distribute, install and repair electrical and plumbing appliances, fixtures, machinery, supplies, apparatus and equipment of any and all kinds and character."
Please notice that there is no reference to a philanthropic or charitable purpose that is unrelated to providing essential electrical energy to members. OTEC was formed to provide its members with the benefits of electrical energy, not to become a philanthropic foundation serving the special interests of nine directors. Charitable foundations adequately fulfill that function. When OTEC takes the membership’s money to give to individuals for purposes that are unrelated to the provision of essential electrical energy, such as monetary awards or trips to Washington, D.C., it begins to look more like political patronage, wherein favors are given in return for political support.