Tag Archives: campaign contributions

Tootie’s Personal Slush Fund Draws Official Complaint

When the guy at the top sets an example of, “Hey, I got elected to make some money,” and that same person, Donald Trump, is compelled to return $1.5 million to charity after illegally steering it into his own pocket, we shouldn’t be surprised at his influence on other Republican officeholders.  

Specifically, former Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith has broken Oregon law when it comes to using Political Action Committee (PAC) funds for personal use. She’s been using that money as a personal slush fund since leaving office in January, 2017, when she was beaten by Ken Humberston.

Such naughty shenanigans have been spotted by an alert Happy Valley person, Sherry Healy, who in February filed a formal complaint with the Oregon Secretary of State’s Elections Division. With documentation there are 48 pages of material.

Tootie Smith and John Ludlow celebrate their election victories in 2012.   Both lost re-election in 2016 and Smith is seeking office again, despite official complaints of running a “slush fund” with PAC money.

It went like this: Once a person is out of office it may be time to change their public persona. Tootie figured she would be a good motivational speaker. She wanted to get paid for talking to people.

In order to succeed she needed training and that costs money. So she turned to her PAC account. Oops. That’s against the law. PAC money is only for political use. The complaint cites several examples of how Tootie broke the law using PAC money:  

  • Paying a membership fee of $1,697 in January, 2017, to the National Speakers Association with campaign funds after leaving office.  
  • Paying $1,125 with PAC money for speaking, consulting and training after leaving office, with the stated goal of starting a new career, one apparently funded by campaign money. 
  • Paying $120 for website expenses with campaign funds after leaving office to advertise her professional speaking and consulting services.  
  • Using campaign funds to build a website linking to sales of her book. 
  • Using the PAC in 2019 for a $170 membership in the West Linn Chamber of Commerce to promote herself as an author, not as a candidate.

A key aspect of the law, ORS 260.407, specifically prohibits using PAC funds for any personal use other than to defray any expenses incurred in connection with the person’s duties as a holder of public office. Smith was neither in office nor a candidate when the most egregious activities occurred.

Today Smith wants to get back in office. She is challenging County Chair Jim Bernard in the May election. So last year she reinvigorated her PAC, which implies her candidacy will benefit from any proceeds.

Continue reading

How to Buy Clackamas County Commissioners

tootlow-90000The going price is 90-thousand dollars.

The financial backers of Trump-Lite Clackamas County Commissioners John Ludlow and Tootie Smith have gone all-in.

Wealthy Portland real estate developers have increased the ante to $90,000. The recipients are Commission Chairman Ludlow and Commissioner Smith. The two have been the driving force behind plans to develop pristine farm and recreational land near Wilsonville. Continue reading