Movie theater mogul Tom Moyer has been indicted, along with two others, on charges of making campaign contributions under false names to Portland mayoral candidate Jim Francesconi, according to a story in this morning's Oregonian. I must say, I'm pleasantly surprised that the Oregon Department of Justice has actually dared to do something about corrupt practices in public life. Here's hoping that the DOJ's ambitions in that regard don't stop there.
Even more surprising, the O ran the story on the front page (albeit with a small headline, and below the fold), even though Mr. Moyer is a heavy advertiser with that publication (or at least, he was for many years). You can bet the editors called the advertising department over there before that decision was made.
No one in the Francesconi campaign was charged, and so of course old Jim-Bob was in the paper pointing out how his office was "cleared." This is apparently the new definition of being "cleared" in Oregon -- the prosecutor decided not to indict you. Anyway, innocent though he may be, Francesconi takes yet another hit to his battered campaign, which reportedly even he thinks is doomed. I suppose this sordid tale will also boost City Commissioner Erik Sten's proposal to have the taxpayers in town foot the bill for public financing of local political races.
According to the news story, Francesconi admits he knew that two large donations to his campaign were made by an employee and relative of Moyer. But he says that neither he nor anyone on his campaign staff knew that the money was actually Moyer's, as alleged (but not yet proven) by prosecutors.
Francesconi is an energetic fundraiser who has even used an auxiliary office in a downtown law firm to dial for dollars for his campaign. As a guy who prides himself on raising money, what did he think when Moyer gave him $500, Moyer's secretary gave him $2,000, and Moyer's granddaughter gave him $2,500 (math majors out there, you see the total is $5,000) all on the same day?
I wonder if there are any other skeletons of this sort in his or other candidates' donor rolls. What, if any, duty does a political candidate have to check out the true sources of contributions coming his or her way from relatives of the wealthy and powerful?
I guess one could ask Francesconi, whose list of supporters includes both the wife and the ex-wife of You-Know-Who, but not The Man himself. You know, another unindicted gentleman, but one definitely not "cleared."
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» Three Francesconi Contributors Indicted For Illegal Donations from The One True b!X's PORTLAND COMMUNIQUE
We experienced an interesting arc on this story earlier today, since we first read the brief item at the tail end of today's "Murmurs" column in Willamette Week: At press time yesterday, a Multnomah County grand jury was considering whether to issue a ... [Read More]
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I've pondered the story about Tom Moyer being indicted for allegedly giving money to the campaign of Commissioner Francesconi in the names of his assistant and his granddaughter since I read it in the Oregonian this morning. (Here's Jack Bog's [Read More]