By David Krogh
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, his election opponent Ozzie Gonzalez and City Council candidate Jack Kerfoot were hit with campaign finance complaints on January 9.
Ronald Buel, representing Honest Elections Oregon, filed complaints with the Portland City Auditor’s Office claiming that Wheeler accepted 15 donations that exceeded $500 and Gonzalez and Kerfoot had each accepted four. Buel is requesting fines and audits for the three candidates named.
Portland voters approved Measure 26-200 in 2018, amending the city charter to limit individual or political committee donations to $500 per election cycle in city races.
The three candidates named in the complaint contend the policy is not enforceable since a Multnomah County circuit judge rendered a decision in June of 2019 questioning the constitutionality of portions of Portland’s measure. Honest Elections Oregon was the chief organizer for Measure 26-200.
The circuit court decision also affects a similar measure adopted by Multnomah County in 2016 and was appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court, who is expected to render decisions affecting both measures in the near future.
In the meantime, the Portland City Auditor’s Office is expected to render its own decision.
According to Honest Elections Oregon, donation totals exceeding that permitted by the City measure include $40,000 for Wheeler, $14,000 for Gonzalez and $106,000 for Kerfoot.