Campaign Finance Scandal Leads to Prison Sentence

One year after three Portland City Council candidates were implicated in a campaign finance scandal, a Multnomah County Judge has sent a former petition gatherer for all three candidates to prison.

From the Oregonian:

For six days this summer, Judge Michael McShane listened quietly as Vladimir Golovan and the three politicians who hired him pointed fingers at each other, contradicted the evidence and generally denied any responsibility for the city's 2006 campaign finance scandal.

On Tuesday, McShane finally got a chance to speak -- and there was no mistaking his frustration or his fury.

"If I could throw all four of you in prison, I would do it in a heartbeat."

McShane, a Multnomah County Circuit judge, sent Golovan to prison for up to nine months for forgery and identity theft.

The candidates (Lucinda Tate, Emilie Boyles and Bruce Broussard) hired Golovan to collect signatures so they could take advantage of the city's new public finance system. However, his methods proved to be less than honest:

An investigation by The Oregonian during the 2006 campaign found that many people from whom Golovan claimed to have received contributions never actually donated. In an ensuing inquiry, police discovered that Golovan had not collected any money for Boyles or signatures and money for Tate.

During his June trial, prosecutors called a parade of Slavic witnesses who testified that Golovan had forged their signatures and stolen their identities on Tate's behalf.

While the candidates themselves have not been charged in the matter, they have come under fire for their roles in the scandal:

Golovan and defense lawyer David Hall asked the judge to consider probation rather than imprisonment. Hall said Golovan was the unwitting victim of a flawed system, duped by what Hall called "politicians who were far wiser and more sophisticated than him."

McShane was having none of it and interrupted the defense attorney to tell him so:

"I have seen more sophisticated campaigning in a high school student body election," he said. "To declare that any of these people were wise and sophisticated is just laughable."

McShane said he was actually going easy at the request of jurors. After their July 2 verdict, several asked the judge why Golovan was the only one who had been charged with a crime. McShane suggested that he had the same question.

Read the rest. Has justice been served, or are the former candidates getting off easy? Discuss.

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    I think all four are getting off pretty easy, even Golovan. Let's face it 9 months with good time is a drop in the hat compared to other fraud cases.

    The three candidates should also face charges, but I doubt they will.

    I don't have an opinion one way or another about the campaign finance plan itself, but I'm glad they got one of the people invovled in the fraud.

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    No matter what system you create, people will find a way to game it.

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    That's right. The only question is: how do we enforce the law? In this case, they caught 'em before the election.

  • Marcia Steiner (unverified)

    I served on a jury for another trial presided over by this particular judge, and he was the biggest jerk I've ever encountered in the legal system (and that, my friends, is saying something). Arrogant, short-tempered and often downright rude. He seemed to have politically reactionary tendencies as well (though the trial wasn't political in nature). It wouldn't surprise me if his outburst in this case was intended to erode support for public campaign financing. The Oregonian certainly seized on it as though it was.

  • Michael J McShane (unverified)

    Despite Ms. Steiner's comments, I can assure you that my statement was not motivated by an interest in eroding support for public campaign finance. Indeed, most of my comments were simply echoing the concerns expressed to me by some of the jurors who convicted Mr. Golovan. In any event, I apologize to Ms. Steiner for her experience in my courtroom... I can assure you that I have never been characterized before as arrogant, short tempered and rude. My courtroom is always open (room 312)and I would invite Ms. Steiner and any member of the public to come and observe that I am committed to my work and committed to treating everyone with dignity in my courtroom. Sincerely, Judge Michael McShane; aka "The Jerk".

  • Victor (unverified)

    Well now, isn't that special. Now we know how the typical MultCo judge spends his time - googling his name and writing pissy responses to critics on obscure web sites. No wonder it takes eight months to challenge a freakin' traffic ticket!

    This county's white-boys-club judiciary is a sad, sick joke. I don't know how any self-respecting person can be part of it.

  • Michael J McShane (unverified)

    Point well taken Victor. Great input. Although I would point out that "this county's white-boys-club jucidiary" is actually made up of a majority of women. I imagine there is very little I can say to change your views on the state of the judicial branch, but my invitation stands for you to come by and see what we actually do in the courtroom. And sorry it took so long to challenge that traffic ticket... we are working on that one. Sincerely, Michael.

  • Victor (unverified)

    But how many nonwhite judges are there? And how come no cops in this town are ever (EVER) punished for shooting unarmed civilians (usually minorities)? This county's so-called justice system (judges, cops, sheriff, DA, the whole lot) is the most racist and clueless I've seen anywhere, and I've lived in freakin' Alabama.

    I don't need to visit your g-d courtroom, judge. I've already seen enough of what goes on in that tragic building. At least in the south the racists don't usually pretend to be "enlightened" the way they do here.

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