Randy Leonard on the Sho Dozono money mess: "Loophole. Drive. Truck."

Here's the latest in the ongoing Portland campaign drama regarding a mystery poll donated to mayoral candidate Sho Dozono. (Covered previously on BlueOregon.)

To catch you up, Willamette Week:

Last week, The Portland Tribune and WW raised questions about an extensive poll done for mayoral candidate Sho Dozono. The gist of that reporting: Dozono's failure to disclose or account for the poll may have violated state election law and may also have violated the rules that govern the City of Portland's public financing of city elections.

City auditor Gary Blackmer - who oversees the system - says it's not a problem:

The Campaign Finance Fund code does not apply until a person becomes a candidate which is defined as "an individual whose name is or is expected to be printed on the official ballot." The poll preceded actions by Dozono to file for office, before making any public declarations that he was a candidate, and before signing the declaration to qualify for public campaign finance funds and limit spending.

'I believe the intent of the code is to allow private citizens to explore the possibility of running for public office and still qualify for our limited public campaign funding,' Blackmer said.

But Janice Thompson, a campaign finance watchdog, says not so fast:

"It appears that state law is clear that a campaign begins upon receipt of an in-kind contribution or other form of contribution and that those donations must be reported. In addition, it appears that city administration of the public financing program can and should require compliance with those state regulations. It also seems that the intent of the Citizens Campaign Commission is that participating candidates comply with applicable state laws."

The Oregonian reports that there is now a state complaint against Sho Dozono, filed by another mayoral candidate - Bruce Broussard:

Portland businessman and perennial candidate Bruce Broussard has filed a complaint with the secretary of state's office seeking an investigation into whether Sho Dozono should have reported the value of poll results he saw while deciding whether to become a candidate for Portland's mayor. ...

Under the city's public campaign finance rules, candidates for mayor are limited to $12,000 worth of in-kind contributions in the primary, and a poll could be worth more than that.

In a separate Willamette Week item, City Commissioner Randy Leonard describes his concerns with characteristic aplomb:

“I sum up my concerns with Gary’s determination with three words,” writes Commissioner Randy Leonard, a backer of Sam Adams ’ mayoral campaign and a critic of public campaign financing. “Loophole. Drive. Truck.”


  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    Just another example of how extremely uptight people make mountains out of molehills....and we wonder why people get disgusted with voting and general politics.

  • Kristen Dozono (unverified)

    The rules of public financing are very difficult to determine. Most of the time is spent on the campaign trying to make sure we do not break a rule. We talk to the auditors office everyday and they are so swamped with calls they can barely handle the volume. It is so unfortunate that some of the public is attempting to frame this poll as something that it is not. My father is trying to give back to this city- not gain from it. I wish people could be a little less vindictive in this race.

  • Jim Sullivan (unverified)

    No, it's really not that complicated: Report every contribution you get - whether it's in-kind or in-cash. Period.

    It's only complicated if you're trying to game the system and hide stuff.

  • Jim Sullivan (unverified)

    Sorry - just to clarify... yes, the rules of voter-owned are a little bit complex... but they should be: you're getting $200,000 of taxpayer money.

    But the rule that was broken here has nothing to do with voter-owned. It's a state rule, followed by hundreds of candidates at every level in every district, city, county of Oregon: Report everything. Period.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Wasn't there a second, equally articulate part to Randy Leonard's actual statement?

    "Adams. Mayor. Endorsement."

    and a third?

    "My way. Or. Highway."

  • (Show?)

    An independent third party undertook a poll then shared the results with Dozono in order to try and persuade him to run.

    If Dozono had listened to the results of the poll and then declined to run would he have been required to file a report? If listening to the results of a poll undertaken by someone else constitutes beginning a campaign then it seems he would have been required to do so. Has that ever happened? It doesn't look cut-and-dried to me.

    Even if listening to those results and then beginning a campaign without enquiring as to the cost of the poll and reporting it is deemed a violation, it is still an understandable oversight. In that case, Dozono should revise his reports and maybe even pay a fine. If the law requires more than that, it needs fixing.

    I have to agree with Auditor Blackmer that certainly such a violation should not disqualify someone from running or from public financing.

    I'm all for vigilance in preventing fraud and willfull patterns of misreporting but political campaigns are no more likely to be completely mistake-free than any other human endeavor.

  • Jim Sullivan (unverified)

    Doretta, you're missing one important detail. The poll happened AFTER Dozono had already filed a candidate committee and AFTER he had begun describing himself as a candidate.

    On the weekend of Dec. 15, Dozono emailed potential supporters saying "We are hoping to get at least 1,000 people to sign up as supporters by the end of next week. It’s just the beginning of our grassroots campaign. People can vary the comments as they send it along to others. Thanks for your help." On Dec. 20, supporters registered a political action committee "Friends of Sho Dozono" with the Secretary of State. One of the directors of the committee was Kristin Dozono, one of the candidate's daughters. As early as Dec. 21, Portlanders reported getting polled by McGuire Research. Like registering the various websites, the polling cost money. According to the Secretary of State's candidate guidelines, one of the characteristics that defines one as a candidate and that triggers reporting requirements is "spending money on your candidacy." Since Dozono began spending money in November for websites and the poll was conducted in December, he would be subject to disclosing the expenditure on the poll no later than the end of January, according to the state's candidate guidelines: "Contributions and expenditures are reported on a transaction-basis. Generally, a transaction is due no later than 30 calendar days after the date of the transaction." Dozono says he did file a political action committee with the Secretary of State but says that doesn't mean he was a candidate. "I opened that [committee] as a potential candidate," he says. "Not as a candidate, as a potential candidate." Under election law, however, there is no such thing as a "potential candidate."
  • Harry (unverified)

    Randy Leonard, I have three words that I have heard repeatedly about you:

    Smelly. Body. Odor.

    If you can't keep your politics fairly clean (yes, I know you brag about being in Union politics previously), then at least take a shower, brush your teeth, and use mouth wash and deodorant. Repeat. Every. Day.

  • (Show?)


    Your father is a good man and I am sure most of Portand knows that.


  • Fireman Tee (unverified)

    Hairy Harry:

    I doubt that you dislike Commissioner Leonard any more than I do (trust me), but it doesn't get any more ad hominem than to tell an elected official that he (quite literally) stinks. We need a little more public policy substance in your critique. Hate the legislation, but love the legislator?

    Maybe he's headed to a turnstile sting to bust fare jumpers on the MAX (just trying to blend in)? Maybe you bumped into him after Homer bought the white men lunch at Higgins (garlic breath lasts for hours, even if you brush your teeth). Maybe he just charged into a Home Depot (videocam blazing) to bust a dodgy spray paint clerk? Heck, he might even have a little biodiesel on the sole of his shoes, and we all know what that smells like. All of us would be a little pungent after fighting the good fight day after day. Week after week. Year after year. Term after term.

    At least Commissioner Leonard had the cajones to vote against Clean Money back when many of us were making the "incumbent protection act" arguments against it, and all the B/O regulars were talking it up like manna from heaven.

    There now: proof you can shred a man's political philosophy without attacking his personal aura. See how easy that was?

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    back when many of us were making the "incumbent protection act" arguments against it

    Uh, considering that the public-financing scheme has been tried out in a grand total of ONE election, a bit of caution would seem to be in order in claiming that it amounts to an "incumbent protection act".

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    I'm still waiting for the Mister Tees of the world, who love to chat up the merits of businessmen-as-politicians on various local blogs, and also love to bash public campaign financing, to figure out what to do with Sho Dozono, who fills their successful-business requirement but has had the temerity to apply for public financing. Are they going to ditch Dozono because he's using public financing? Or are they going to forgive him that transgression because he's a businessman? Damn, it's so tough to be ideologically pure these days.

  • G Schmidt (unverified)

    Though I wouldn't put it like Lin Qiao, it is an interesting question. I support public financing. From what I understand Sho has been so successful in private fundraising endeavors for charity, and has all the right connections to successfully raise the $200,000 as a candidate, even with financial caps.

    Is that the kind of candidate that public financing is meant to serve? Should it?


  • (Show?)
    Is that the kind of candidate that public financing is meant to serve? Should it?

    My understanding is that the whole point of public financing is that it is meant to serve all candidates, and in so doing, to improve the quality of election campaigns, thus serving the public interest.

    I have to admit that when I read the original posting my first thought was, "Hmmm, I didn't know Mandate Media was working for Sam Adams."

    But now I do.

    Hey, don't get me wrong, I like Sam Adams perfectly well, might even vote for him, but this crusade is starting to smell familiar to me.

    And not in a good way.

  • Miles (unverified)

    It is so unfortunate that some of the public is attempting to frame this poll as something that it is not. My father is trying to give back to this city- not gain from it.

    Okay, Kristen, then tell your dad to stop with the "I wasn't a candidate at the time" obfuscation and just say "I screwed up." Most of us could understand this kind of minor oversight; it's the cover-up that smells bad.

    Also, if Sho is trying to give back to the community, why doesn't he disclose who commissioned the poll, who paid for it, and what it said? I'm really curious. See, the reason why these things get reported is so that we can know who those running for office owe favors to. In this case, Sho owes someone a favor for sharing the results of an expensive poll. Results that none of the rest of us can get. So yeah, it's minor, but it's also important.

  • (Show?)

    The poll happened AFTER Dozono had already filed a candidate committee and AFTER he had begun describing himself as a candidate.

    OK, I stand corrected on the details of the timing.

  • Reserved listener in Salem (unverified)

    Firemen Tee, Harry is one of a few different names oil lobbyist Paul Romain has been posting under as of late. Unfortunately for Paul...errr....Harry....he is quite the bragger in the not so quiet lobby gathering places within the bustling State Capitol (we are in special session). The Capitol walls are marble and his attempts at low decibel bragging about his blog postings are making quite the rounds these days in the capitol. And just for the record, the lobby despises that man more than the legislators he burned last year. And that is a lot.

    He has been telling anyone who will listen to him down here that Leonard treated him shabbily at a Portland city council hearing and that "life is long".

    Paul has a history of vindictive behavior (ask his ex-wife's husband, fellow lobbyist Len Bergstein, also not a Romain fan.

  • ws (unverified)

    If this campaign contribution reporting issue Sho Dozono has allowed to attach itself to him is a molehill, it sure is good knowing about that molehill now, before people seriously consider voting for this candidate, and possibly electing him to be Mayor of Portland. After such people gain extraordinary positions of power is when the molehills they accommodate can turn into mountains of disaster.

    What is with Dozono? That's what I want to know. He seems to have approximately 0 reflexes. Why would anyone want a person for mayor that can't even manage to get out of the gate without making himself look seriously bad? Unless they stand a chance of making a lot of money. Odd that most of the other candidates have to scramble to raise the necessary number of $5 contributions on ideas, vision and truth.

    Then, along comes Dozono, and without offering so much as a clue of how he might guide a city, or some credible indication that he has the skill and ability to do so, way more than the required number of contributions rain down in record time, into his campaign qualification purse. If Dozono is the best candidate for Mayor of Portland, show the proof. Forget all this sniping, just show that Sho Dozono can lead Portland better than any other person in town. I've got a feeling that this is never, never going to happen, but good luck to all that believe it will.

  • Fireman Tee (unverified)


    You may have overheard something credible (or not)...but anybody can use the name "Harry" with or without Romain's direction.

    Either way, I don't believe any lobbyist (no matter how stupid) is likely to villify an elected's B.O. on B/O.

    First, because it accomplishes nothing positive (unless it was intended to inform, which this did not)

    Second, because we all know I.P. addy's can be located.

    Third, because the risk of goading that elected official into harming your client's interests is too high.

    So how about it, Randy? Want to play Hugo Chavez and nationalize the local oil distributors and retailers?

    Si se puede!

  • opr (unverified)

    I doubt that the above is really Kristin Dozono commenting, -- her first name is misspelled as the signer of the post. That said, I agree with Fred and Kristin, there is nothing about elections violations that should keep Sho from running for mayor. He just needs to correct the violation with the State, pay the fine and subtract the amount of the poll from his public financing budget so he does not create inequity in the rules. But I’m not sure the rules allow that.

    Amy Ruiz has a pretty clear analysis of what is going on over on Hall Monitor: http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=644131&category=38037. It now seems that Sho’s public financing really should be affected by this in kind contribution, as he cannot exceed 12k, period, at any time.

  • (Show?)

    If, at the time he received this information, Dozono was not a candidate according to Portland's definition of the term as it relates to public financing, then it seems pretty clear that regardless of what the state's definition and disclosure requirements are, this should not affect his ability to qualify for public financing.

    As to whether or not he has run afoul of the state's disclosure requirements...

    Here's the relevant Oregon statute:

    (1)(a) "Candidate" means: (A) An individual whose name is printed on a ballot, for whom a declaration of candidacy, nominating petition or certificate of nomination to public office has been filed or whose name is expected to be or has been presented, with the individual's consent, for nomination or election to public office; (B) An individual who has solicited or received and accepted a contribution, made an expenditure, or given consent to an individual, organization, political party or political committee to solicit or receive and accept a contribution or make an expenditure on the individual's behalf to secure nomination or election to any public office at any time, whether or not the office for which the individual will seek nomination or election is known when the solicitation is made, the contribution is received and retained or the expenditure is made, and whether or not the name of the individual is printed on a ballot; or

    I'm not going to attempt to assess whether a person who receives information that is intended to persuade that person to run for public office has accepted a contribution, but if Dozono does not even know who commissioned the poll, how could he have given consent to the expenditure?

    I don't think that state law is as clear in this case as Janice Thompson seems to have suggested, and it's important to remember that although she has more than a lay person's familiarity with Oregon election law, Janice is not an attorney.

  • (Show?)

    Hey, don't get me wrong, I like Sam Adams perfectly well, might even vote for him, but this crusade is starting to smell familiar to me.

    Huh. Interesting.

    Stephanie V, are you arguing that this isn't newsworthy? After all, it's a story that's being investigated by four separate newspapers.

    I think there's been maybe ten articles written about it, and only two items on BlueOregon.


    Full disclosure: My company built the website for Sam Adams, but I speak only for myself.

  • anony (unverified)

    Sal – According to the press, Dozono had purchased a website (or several) and was already soliciting support for his own nomination by mid-December. He had a candidate-committee open at the time the poll was conducted. See this link: http://wweek.com/wwire/?p=10670

    I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts after you have had a chance to read Janice Thompson’s complete analysis - http://media.wweek.com/attach/2008/02/11/Feb_08_memo_re_poll.doc. Now I’m not a lawyer but it all seems pretty straightforward.

    I find the premise that he didn’t “know” where the poll came from completely and absolutely bogus. I am certain he is being advised to say he “doesn’t know” but it doesn’t matter if he “didn’t know,” it is his job as a candidate to find out where a 10-20k contribution came from. Period.

  • Harry Wilson (unverified)

    The "Harry" commenting earlier on this thread is NOT Harry Wilson.

  • Kari going down the tubes (unverified)

    Kari my old friend

    good for you to know that your reputation is slowly going down the tubes only unbeknownst to you

    from many of the old x-pacers who no longer keep in touch with you, the reputation of you as a citizen, your company, and this blog, are slowly but surely, feeling the impact of your irresponsible actions

    and you're doing it all in the name of Sam Adams

    I sure hope Sam and Weiner is worth it to you - oh yeah, it must because your business interfaces with Weiner...

    by the way, it is real classy how you wrote "whatever" in response to one of your bloggers. why do we pay attention to this blog anyway? i guess it's time to start a campaign against BlueOregon

    see ya Kari

  • Smells Bad (unverified)

    p.s. Kari

    from my recent run-ins with you, and being at City Council meetings with Sam and Randy, I'd have to agree with some of the other blog postings here, only tie them all together. Anyone else out there agree with me?

    Randy's statements = Kari statements = contrived dialogue from Sam's ass

    All wreak of:

    "Adams. Mayor. Endorsement."

    "My way. Or. Highway."

    "Smelly. Body. Odor"

    The smell is coming from your dirty politics. If I were you, I'd try harder to keep your politics clean, but it will all come back to you one way or another.

  • (Show?)

    and you're doing it all in the name of Sam Adams

    I sure hope Sam and Weiner is worth it to you - oh yeah, it must because your business interfaces with Weiner...

    Huh? I thought I was doing it all in the name of Jeff Merkley? Whatever.

    For the record, I believe Mark Weiner and I share one client this cycle (Sam Adams) and are opposite sides on two races this cycle (Merkley/Novick and Macpherson/Kroger). There may be others that I don't know about. That's out of some 25-30 clients so far this cycle for my firm.

    <h2>I have great respect for Mark's talents, but I can assure you that I have my own independent views. Anybody who thinks that Mark Weiner and I march in lockstep isn't paying attention.</h2>
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