As The Oregonian reported this morning, a New York investment firm calling itself Troutdale Energy Center LLC is proposing to build a $680 million gas-fired electricity generating plant at the site of a defunct aluminum plant in east Multnomah County.

Whether the plant gets built or whether Portland General Electric—which would be the plant's primary customer—builds its own generation will be decided by the Public Utility Commission, which regulates utility investments and power acquisition costs.

Although new to Oregon, the principals behind Troutdale Energy have shown themselves to be quick to understand our campaign finance system, which allows unlimited contributions.

A filing over the weekend shows that Troutdale Energy on June 19 gave $10,000 to Gov. John Kitzhaber, who appoints the three members of the Public Utility Commission.  

Kitzhaber's spokesman, Tim Raphael says the governor will have no role in deciding whether the Troutdale generation plant gets built and the contribution will have "zero influence" on his thinking.