News Flash: Judge rules against Portland candidate Donozo

Presiding State Administrative Law Judge David Gerstenfeld has overturned the decision of the City Auditor to certify Mayoral Candidate Sho Dozono, making him ineligible for $161,171 in public funds to finance his campaign. At issue was a poll conducted in December 2007. In Gerstenfeld’s Final Order, the Finding of Law is that “Dozono received in-kind contributions in excess of the applicable limit for candidates seeking certification to receive public campaign financing.”

Further, in the Final Order Opinion, ALJ Gerstenfeld wrote:
“The network of laws and regulations from the City of Portland and the State of Oregon regulating elections are complex, and the City provisions addressing the public funding of campaigns are relatively new. The Auditor has attempted to read these provisions as objectively and narrowly as possible to avoid creating opportunities for subjectivity or changing the understanding of these laws while an election is in progress. Despite these attempts, however, the City’s interpretation of Section 2.10.050 C. is contrary to the text and context of the code provisions and for that reason cannot stand.”

“We appreciate the thoughtful review by Administrative Law Judge Gerstenfeld. He had all of the necessary facts for his final order, and we respect his decision,” said Auditor Gary Blackmer.

Three opposing Candidates for Mayor exercised their right to appeal Dozono’s certification under provisions of Portland’s Public Campaign Finance law: Beryl McNair, Craig Gier, and Sam Adams. A fourth appellant, Bruce Broussard, withdrew as a Candidate before the hearing date. The hearing was held on Monday, March 17, 2008.

The Auditor certified Sho Dozono on March 5, 2008. In the certification determination, the Auditor applied the City Code section related to the definition of Candidate to the issues regarding a poll conducted in December 2007. The Citizen Campaign Commission will review this issue and City rules as part of their on-going monitoring of public campaign financing. Two members, Kathryn McLaughlin and Dylan Amo, observed the hearing.

Although Mr. Dozono was certified on March 5, the Auditor has withheld payment of public funds to Mr. Dozono until issuance of a final order.

Judge Gerstenfeld’s decision is posted on the Auditor’s Website at (PDF document, 60 kb)

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