Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler Is Giving Away $16,000 of Gordon Sondland’s Previous Contributions

As he gears up for a re-election bid, Wheeler distances himself from Trump's E.U. ambassador, who had a tough day.

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (right) at a housing press conference in September 2019. (Motoya Nakamura / Multnomah County)

Mayor Ted Wheeler this afternoon announced he will give $16,000 to a variety of groups, in an effort to distance himself from a longtime donor, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Earlier today, Sondland, who is a central player in a congressional impeachment investigation, amended his earlier closed-door testimony, acknowledging that he was aware of an attempted quid pro quo between the Trump administration and Ukrainian officials.

That was enough for Wheeler, who is running for re-election. The Portland Mercury first drew attention last month to Sondland's contributions to the mayor.

Wheeler's campaign said he will spread the money around.

Here's where the money is going: The Portland Parks Foundation ($1500), Transition Projects ($1500), CAUSA ($1500), Portland Audubon ($1500), Basic Rights Oregon ($1500), DePaul Treatment Centers ($1500), SOLVE ($1500), Portland United Against Hate ($1500) and organizational partners of the grassroots ImpeachNow.org coalition ($4000).

"The Mayor made it clear that he wanted to give Ambassador Sondland the opportunity to explain his involvement in the Ukrainian scandal," said Jennifer Arguinzoni, manager for Wheeler's re-election campaign in a statement. "Especially in light of the acknowledgment of a quid pro quo and the testimony of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, it has become clear that Sondland's actions are potentially counter to the law."

Update, 7:30 pm: Wheeler's chief opponent in next year's election, Sarah Iannarone, said she welcomed the mayor's decision but that it took him far too long to make it. She called for Wheeler to return Sondland's checks one month ago.

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