When Gordon Sondland testified Oct. 18 in front of a House impeachment panel investigating President Donald Trump, Democrats leading the joint committee knew him as the former Portland hotelier who secured an ambassadorship after his companies contributed $1 million to Trump's inauguration.
In his testimony before the Democratically-led committee, however, Sondland made a stab at bi-partisanship.
"I have good friends from both sides of the aisle, many of whom have reached out to me to provide support," Sondland testified.
In Oregon, Sondland has indeed played both sides of the aisle. Last year, he gave state Rep. Knute Buehler (R-Bend), the GOP candidate for governor, $22,500. But over the past decade, he's far more often given to Democrats than Republicans.
He's never been a person to put all his eggs in one basket. The 42-page federal financial disclosure form Sondland filed after Trump nominated him to be the U.S. ambassador to the European Union showed a remarkable level of diversification: Sondland invested in more than a dozen hotels, numerous property deals, financial service companies, tech startups, and a large portfolio of stocks and mutual funds.
A longtime donor to Republicans at the national level—he's given more than $400,000 to candidates, nearly all in the GOP—Sondland diversified at home by supporting numerous Democrats—although many of them were running in nonpartisan races.
His gifts to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler have received press attention—and a call by Wheeler's 2020 election opponent, educator and consultant Sarah Iannarone, to return the money.
But an analysis of the contributions made by Sondland and four companies he ran (Dunson Equities, Buena Vista Investments LLC, Provenance Hotels, and Aspen Lodging) show he's regularly given to leading Democrats, nearly all of them men (former Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is the exception). City Commissioners Amanda Fritz, Chloe Eudaly and Jo Ann Hardesty never got a penny from Sondland or his companies.
Here are local Democrats to whom Sondland or his companies have contributed since 2006:
Gov. John Kitzhaber: $23,167
Mayor Ted Wheeler: $16,500
City Council candidate Loretta Smith: $5,222
Mayor Charlie Hales: $3,700
City Commissioner Nick Fish: $3,000
City Commissioner Steve Novick: $2,000
Mayoral candidate Jefferson Smith: $2,000
City Commissioner Randy Leonard: $1,000
City Council candidate Stuart Emmons: $1,000
Mayor Sam Adams: $500