January 17, 2005

Potter And Adams Move To Retire Campaign Debts

Event Sponsored By Local Business Interests

Once again, a reader had to forward us email off of Commissioner Sam Adams' old campaign mailing list, because the campaign never did manage to figure out how to keep us subscribed to it or some such bizarre thing. This time around, the message in question is the announcement of an upcoming event to help Adams and Mayor Tom Potter retire their campaign debts.

While dubbed a "Shake Up City Hall" party, the shindig is being presented by a veritable Who's Who of local business interests. Hosted by Louis Dreyfus Property Management, the party is sponsored by Roy Jay Enteprises, Portland Oregon Visitors Association, City Center Parking, Northwest Natural, Cascade Centers Incorporated, Star Park, Portland General Electric, QWEST, Portland Business Alliance, Oregon Lodging Association, and Oregon Restaurant Association.

In addition, the RSVP included in the announcement requests that attendees and/or contributors send their information to a Portland Business Alliance email address.

According to the announcement, contributions to Potter's campaign fund will continue to be limited to $100 per person. But under Oregon's campaign finance laws, we're wondering if the corporate sponsorship of the event itself counts as a set of campaign contributions -- which would then appear to run the risk of amounting to more than the stated $100 per person limitation.

We would have had some sort of feedback on that question from the state Elections Division, but after sending email out to them, we realized what day this is, and that state offices are closed. However, we do have a response from Nancy Hamilton, who is Mayor Potter's chief of staff.

I think between the number of companies and groups coming together to host the event, and sharing those costs between two people (Tom and Sam) our intention was to have the contributions equal no more than the equivalent of $100 per entity per candidate. Which is one of the reasons that we asked for several groups to come together to share costs. If the amount expended exceeds our $100 per, we will likely reimburse some of the costs, as we did throughout the campaign.

Whether or not the corporate sponsorship of the fundraising event gives an appearance somewhat contrary to the idea of shaking up City Hall, or whether such concerns are sound and fury signifying nothing, is something we mainly will leave to the reader.

We'll think about that question some more ourselves, but we thought it proper to be honest and up front about our own first impressions -- those first impressions almost always amounting to feeling a bit rankled by such a thing.

Meanwhile. the Adams campaign has no contribution limit, consistent with its policy during the election itself. However, they have announced that they will be contributing 25% of all contributions from this event to help Adams' opponent Nick Fish (who has rejoined Meyer & Wyse to practice labor and employment law) retire his campaign debt as well.

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