Portland Lawyer Pepper-Sprayed by Mayor Ted Wheeler Is a Repeated Donor to Trump Political Action Committees

The contributions were all made in September and October 2020.

A worker repairs damage to the fence outside the Federal Courthouse on July 25, 2020. He replaces a weld at a section that a protester had damaged using a circular saw. (Alex Wittwer)

Cary Cadonau, the lawyer who Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler pepper-sprayed outside a McMenamins pub on Sunday, repeatedly contributed last year to political action committees supporting the reelection of President Donald Trump, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Those contributions began in September 2020, two months after Trump deployed federal agents to downtown Portland to quell protests targeting federal courthouses.

The filings show Cadonau made six contributions to WinRed, a Republican PAC. Two of those filings were earmarked for Donald J. Trump for President Inc., three for the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and one for a PAC supporting Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

In total, Cadonau has donated $202 to WinRed. The filings show one Sept. 26, 2020, contribution of $50 earmarked for Graham's campaign, and five separate Oct. 18, 2020, donations totaling $152 earmarked for the two Trump PACS. FEC filings do not indicate any additional contributions from Cadonau.

Oregon records do not show any contributions by Cadonau to local or state candidates in the past decade.

Reached by phone Friday, Mara Woloshin, a representative for Cadonau, said her client wants to leave the incident behind him and that the WinRed contributions are not relevant.

"It's not relevant to 2021 and the here-and-now and lessons learned," Woloshin said. "I think both parties have lessons learned in this incident about the value of mutual understanding and the value of respecting differing opinions."

Cadonau, 48, is a lawyer at Brownstein Rask LLP, and until now was best known for his role in a legal feud over the fate of the Alpenrose Dairy, founded by his grandfather.

On Jan. 24, according to a Portland police report, Cadonau followed Wheeler to his car outside a McMenamins pub in Hillsdale. The two argued about whether Wheeler had violated COVID-19 rules by eating and drinking in an outdoor tent alongside former Mayor Sam Adams.

Audio recordings captured by Adams and obtained by WW show Wheeler asking Cadonau to back away. The mayor then pepper-sprayed him, according to the report, and threw a water bottle at Cadonau before driving away.

Woloshin had initially told reporters that Cadonau would release a video he captured of the incident to the public. But on Wednesday, Woloshin said, Cadonau decided against releasing the footage.

"Mr. Cadonau decided late Wednesday that it is not in Mr. Wheeler's best interest, his own best interest and, most importantly, in the best interest of the rebuilding of our community to release the video at this point," Woloshin said in a statement.

That same day, Cadonau expressed remorse for confronting the mayor, and he apologized to his law partners for the incident.

The mayor's office declined to comment on Cadonau's contributions to WinRed. In a statement issued Thursday, Wheeler wrote that he accepts Cadonau's apology and that he "consider[s] the matter closed."

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