October 25th, 2012 9:35 am | Nigel Jaquiss News | Posted In: PDX Votes, City Hall, Politics

Hales Breaks Campaign Limit Promise, Takes Two Big Union Contributions

news2_hales_3851Mayor Charlie Hales - IMAGE: Peter Hiatt

Well, that didn't take long.

On Oct. 15, former City Commissioner Charlie Hales wrote to Jefferson Smith, his rival in the Nov. 6 mayoral race, to say he wanted to break his pledge not to accept contributions above the $600 limit he'd unilaterally set in June.

That was a major flip-flop for the frontrunner, although he's tried to describe the move (including in last night's KGW/Oregonian mayoral debate) as an "adjustment."

"It’s mostly that these folks want to participate," Hales told WW last week about accepting union contributions. "It’s not fair to those people who want to participate to exclude them."

Records now show that two days after he wrote to Smith, on Oct. 17, Hales accepted a $20,000 in-kind contribution from SEIU Local 49, and another $14,067 in-kind contribution from United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555.

Those contributions, according to filings made late last night, will pay for mailers and postage. Hales also took a $1,000 check yesterday from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 701.

Smith has maintained his unilateral contribution cap of $1,000 and has begun giving money away—including $5,000 to the Portland Public Schools bond campaign—in a sign that the race is essentially over.

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