Campaign finance - Portland's Thomas P. Moyer allegedly gave illegal contributions
Thursday, January 08, 2009
The Oregonian Staff
The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday reinstated the criminal case against a prominent Portland developer accused of making illegal contributions in a mayoral race.
The panel, voting 6-4, found that the state Department of Justice could move forward with felony charges against Thomas P. Moyer
, the multimillionaire developer of the Fox Tower.
Moyer was accused of funneling $4,500 in campaign contributions to Portland mayoral candidate Jim Francesconi in 2003 under the names of his executive assistant and a granddaughter. No evidence suggests Francesconi knew about the donations.
Moyer and the two women -- Sonja R. Tune and Vanessa C. Kassab -- were charged in September 2004 with making contributions under a false name, a rarely prosecuted class C felony.
A Multnomah County judge threw out the charges after Moyer and his co-defendants argued that the state's campaign finance reporting requirements violated their rights of free speech and political association.
The charges against Moyer, a self-made businessman born in 1919 to a Sellwood family with little money, carry penalties of up to five years in prison and a $125,000 fine. But convictions for crimes of that nature normally result in smaller fines and either community service or a much shorter jail sentence.
Secretary of State Kate Brown and Attorney General John R. Kroger applauded Wednesday's decision, saying campaign finance laws should be transparent to preserve the integrity of the elections system.
Janet Hoffman, an attorney who helped argue the case for the defendants, said they expect to file a petition to the Oregon Supreme Court for review.
"We're confident in the ultimate outcome of the case," Hoffman said. "We believe that the trial court's opinion was correct and that it will be reinstated."