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June 27th, 2012 12:01 am WW Editorial Staff | Murmurs

Murmurs: Capping the Campaigns

Charlie and the Contribution Factory.

murmurs.chucky_3834HALES - IMAGE: Kenton Waltz
  • Former City Commissioner Charlie Hales shook up the Portland mayor’s race against Rep. Jefferson Smith (D-Portland) by announcing June 21 he would limit contributors to $600 and not accept out-of-state donations. Hales takes a risk in living under limits Smith doesn’t have to follow. We’ve crunched the numbers and found that, if Hales’ limits had been in place during the primary, they would have cut deeply into both campaigns’ fundraising. Hales’ cap would have choked off two of Smith’s main cash supplies, public-employee unions and out-of-state donors, but also cut into Hales’ base of corporations and wealthy givers. Hales would have lost 62 percent of the $740,000 he raised; Smith would have given up 59 percent of his $593,000. Overall, Hales would have been able to raise about $56,000 more than Smith.
  • Sometimes free publicity is worth what you pay for it. That’s what Democratic opposition researcher Eric Ohlsen discovered after being the subject of a front-page profile in the June 24 Oregonian. The Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training, which licenses private investigators, tells WW it’s launched an investigation into whether Ohlsen is illegally operating as an unlicensed private investigator. “I pay $550 to have my license,” says Philip Agrue, a P.I. and member of the DPSST Private Security/Investigator’s Policy Committee. “That licensing protects consumers.” Ohlsen, who says he’s worked for John Edwards and Future PAC, the Oregon House Democrats’ campaign committee, could face a fine. Ohlsen says opposition researchers aren’t considered private investigators. “I think it’s kind of ridiculous that people are pushing this story that I’m operating outside of the law,” Ohlsen tells WW. “It’s dirty tricks.”
  • A young Portlander beaten and tased by Portland police during a holiday visit from college has sued the city. According to his June 22 U.S. District Court complaint, Glendale Community College student Daniel Collins was leaving the Barracuda nightclub downtown on Christmas Eve 2010 when officers responded to a call about a fight. Collins claims he wasn’t involved in the fight, but officers pinned him against a metal pole, punched him in the face, and tased him into unconsciousness. Officers later went to Oregon Health & Science University, where Collins’ injuries were being treated, to charge him with resisting arrest. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s office dropped the charges. Collins is the grandson of a noted African-American community activist, Pastor Mary Overstreet Smith of Powerhouse Temple Church. Smith tells WW her grandson is still attending school in Arizona. The suit seeks unspecified damages for assault, battery and deprivation of Collins’ civil rights.
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