Would you give your name, address, and signature to a convicted forger and identity thief? In the past few months, hundreds—if not thousands—of Oregonians have, in the name of democracy.
Gregory Moser, AKA Ronald Phillip, who circulated petitions for a number of initiatives hoping to make the November ballot, carries numerous convictions, including theft, carrying a concealed weapon, and possession of a controlled substance.
Most notably, however, Moser was convicted by the Multnomah County court on May 29, 2002, for forgery, and given six months in prison plus 18 months probation. Later that year, on October 23, he was convicted of felony identity theft and given 26 months probation. His name is also on file with the secretary of state's office as a signature gatherer for initiative petitions.
This election cycle, Moser reportedly carried petitions for numerous conservative initiatives, including the "Taxpayer Bill of Rights" state spending cap, a tax cut, districting of state Supreme Court justices, term limits for state legislators, Bill Sizemore's "ban on discrimination in insurance," and a ban on eminent domain.
At press time, it was uncertain which signature-gathering firm paid Moser to circulate those petitions, and a phone number listed for him was disconnected.
On four of those measures, Democracy Direct was one of the main signature gathering firms, and a contract from that company obtained by the Mercury listed the rest as petitions that circulators had "permission" to carry. Democracy Direct owner Tim Trickey, however, refused to comment on whether Moser was working for him.
"I have no comment, and don't ever bother calling me back," he told the Mercury.
There's no law against convicted forgers or identity thieves gathering personal information and signatures from unsuspecting voters, says secretary of state spokesperson Anne Martens.
"It's not currently illegal, but it's something the legislature should look at," she says. "And it raises some moral and common-sense questions."