Criminal probe in Yamhill County race

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

Readers might recall that in the May primary, a race for Yamhill County Commissioner had a rather surprising outcome. Despite being a two-candidate race -- between incumbent Commissioner Mary Stern and lunatic fringe former TV personality Mary Starrett -- the race went to a runoff. After a recount, the two were separated by just nine votes - and the 50 write-in votes (most for ineligible or non-existent people) dropped both below 50%.

Now, the race gets even stranger. It seems that another county commissioner, Leslie Lewis, is supporting Mary Starrett - and is alleged to have secretly taped a private endorsement meeting of the Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce. As a result, investigators with the state Department of Justice have opened a criminal probe.

From the McMinnville News-Register:

Yamhill County Commissioner Leslie Lewis is under criminal investigation by the state Department of Justice for allegedly secretly videotaping one or more candidates during private Chehalem Valley Chamber of Commerce endorsement interviews in Newberg and then passing that tape on to others.

The taping was allegedly done in April, but just came to light with the posting of a heavily edited excerpt from Commissioner Mary Stern's endorsement interview on YouTube and a conservative Republican website.

The Department of Justice, which has been interviewing a wide range of involved parties, declined comment pending completion of its work. However, after conducting its own investigation, the chamber's board voted Friday to expel Lewis from the Government Affairs Committee, which oversees the chamber's endorsement process.

Recording any in-person conversation without the knowledge of all parties is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a jail term of up to one year and fine of up to $6,250 in Oregon. Divulging the recording to another is also a Class A misdemeanor and carries the same penalty.

The law makes exceptions for public forums where such taping, either audio or video, is being done openly or would be widely expected. However, this was a private meeting of the committee.

Read the rest. Discuss.

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    Jeez...Yamhill Co is seriously better than this.

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    Below is all the links to the individuals pages that illegally distributed this video and still has it up. I would link to the video but I think they have enough potential defendants. :)

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    The folks behind the Facebook page link seem to think the recent news coverage is a good thing. They reposted the same video again on Saturday. Unbelievable.

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    It would seem that the resurgent philosophy of "Say something enough times and people begin to believe it," doesn't really hold up regarding illegal videotaping.

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