Now that campaign season is upon us, candidates are getting their books cleaned up for next year's elections. Two of the more eye-popping transactions filed recently come from Multnomah County Commissioner Diane McKeel

On Sept. 15, McKeel wrote off $240,000 in personal loans and un-reimbursed personal expenditures made for the benefit of her 2008 campaign. (In that race, she narrowly defeated former Gresham Police Chief Carlo Piluso 50.6 percent to 48.8 percent for position No. 4, which represents east county.) Filings show that McKeel and her husband, dentist Dr. Mike McKeel, put more than five times the amount of money into her campaign than did other contributors, who gave her $45,000.

That's a big personal investment for McKeel, the former executive director of the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce, and her husband. At her current salary of $88,000, she has not yet recouped the money they put in, when taxes are taken into consideration. But McKeel now enjoys the power of incumbency and may have an easier and cheaper path to victory this time.

Updated at 12:10 pm:

There were two transactions filed on Sept. 15 reducing the campaign's debt. One was for personal expenditures, totaling $46,786; the other, forgiveness of loans of $192,896. Dr. Mike McKeel,  McKeel's husband, says the latter filing was an error. The first filing, forgiving the personal expenditures for the campaign's benefit, remains in effect but McKeel says the loans will not be forgiven yet.

"We intend to write the loans off but probably not until Diane leaves office," McKeel says.