Portland architect Stuart Emmons, a second-time candidate for City Council, faces accusations he violated the same elections law as a rival.
In December, the Secretary of State's election division found that Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith, who like Emmons is running for the seat being vacated by Commissioner Dan Saltzman, violated state election law in failing to officially amend her campaign finance account to disclose what office she was seeking donations for. She faced a $250 fine as a result.
But the same good-government advocate who filed the complaint against Smith filed one against Emmons today.
Emmons has raised more than $80,000 for his campaign while publicly saying as late as Jan. 13 that he hadn't decided whether to challenge incumbent Commissioner Nick Fish or to compete for the open seat, or even whether to run at all.
According to the official complaint filed today by Seth Woolley, who is secretary of the Pacific Green Party, Emmons needed to amend his committee as soon as he began fundraising for the office.
The complaint also charges that, at least since yesterday, Emmons has been in violation of the rule that he must amend his committee 10 days after he indicates what office he's running for and raises money for the campaign.
Emmons sent a Facebook message on Jan. 13 seeking the endorsement of the Bernie PDX activist group and saying he was running for the seat vacated by Saltzman.
Emmons disputes that he is violating an elections laws.
"We believe ourselves to be in compliance with both the spirit and letter of the law, and we will be making our announcement soon," says Emmons in a statement. "Meanwhile, we have been disclosing and recording our contributions in a timely manner in compliance with State of Oregon election law."
In this complaint, Woolley asked the state elections division to impose a more serious fine on Emmons —not only a $250 fine for the failure to amend the campaign account but also a 10 percent of all his campaign contributions since January 1, 2017, which would mean a fine of in excess of $8,000.
For Smith, the state fine came along with additional questions. The state determined she had been running since September. Under the Multnomah County charter, Smith was forbidden from running for office before Jan. 1. Whether the county charter has the same technical definition of running for office will likely be determined in court, given that Woolley also filed a lawsuit against her.