11-23-2020  4:47 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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The Skanner News
Published: 24 October 2020

Mayoral challenger Sarah Iannarone has welcomed the Multnomah County Circuit court ruling requiring City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero to look into the complaint against Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler for loaning his own re-election campaign $150,000.

The complaint alleged Wheeler had acted unlawfully because the amount exceeds the $5,000 cap on candidate loans to themselves that was voted into law in 2018.

The auditor had previously refused to enforce the law because she said it violates a Supreme Court precedent and would be struck down.

“While cases such as Citizens United have eroded the political atmosphere of our nation, it is clear that campaign finance regulations are constitutional and it is disgraceful that the City of Portland has been spending resources, at the benefit of Mayor Wheeler, to ensure that big money still has a place in Portland elections.” Iannarone said in a statement.

“Any argument that Mayor Wheeler’s massive loan to his campaign, during this pandemic, is covered under any first amendment protections not only flies in the face of Portland voters but is also frankly ludicrous.

“Candidate loan restrictions are an entirely separate issue than personal contributions and this has been clear in many jurisdictions.

“If the auditor dismisses the complaint due to her position that all money is free speech, we will again challenge this in court because our campaign cares more about election law than any campaign for Portland Mayor."

The 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United barred the government from restricting  spending by corporations and other associations and was based on the First Amendment.

Read Iannarone’s full statement:

“Today a judge has granted our campaign’s petition for the Auditor to enforce city elections law voted in by over 87 percent of Portlanders. Up until now, the City Auditor has refused to enforce sections of the voter-approved law which seeks to curb the influence of big money in our politics due to her flawed assertion of all money as free speech.

“While cases such as Citizens United have eroded the political atmosphere of our nation, it is clear that campaign finance regulations are constitutional and it is disgraceful that the City of Portland has been spending resources, at the benefit of Mayor Wheeler, to ensure that big money still has a place in Portland elections.

“We hope that Mayor Wheeler and the City Council intervene in The City of Portland’s fraught efforts to expand the Citizens United ruling and others regarding money as free speech that has harmed our entire nation.

“This landmark decision requires The Auditor to enforce the law as the voters intended.

“Any argument that Mayor Wheeler’s massive loan to his campaign, during this pandemic, is covered under any first amendment protections not only flies in the face of Portland voters but is also frankly ludicrous.

“Candidate loan restrictions are an entirely separate issue than personal contributions and this has been clear in many jurisdictions.

“If the auditor dismisses the complaint due to her position that all money is free speech, we will again challenge this in court because our campaign cares more about election law than any campaign for Portland Mayor.

“We hope that the City of Portland will stop spending precious resources during this pandemic to expand the role of money in politics. We also hope that Mayor Ted Wheeler and his big-money Super PAC simply follow the law, stop their right-wing attacks, and their assault on our democracy.”

 

 

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