Since March, Citizens to Reform City Hall, the Mayor Tom Potter-backed campaign to change Portland's charter, has been dogged by accusations that they were trying to hide their money.
Legally, they were able to hold off on disclosing their fundraising and spending for weeks, even though the campaigns on the opposing side disclosed theirs immediately. It may have been legal, but it was far from upfront and transparent—as if the campaign was attempting to keep its financiers and activities hidden.
Of course, once it was revealed that most of the funding came directly from businesses and business leaders, it became clear why they were hiding the info—their contributors were a liability.
But what else were they hiding? Nearly $150,000 in campaign materials, apparently, as we only learned a week after the election. On May 11, four days before the election, Citizens to Reform City Hall filed an "accounts payable" entry for $146,497 to a Seattle-based political firm called Moxie Media. That filing was only made public on Friday, May 18. According to the campaign, Moxie was responsible for the four mailers that went out to voters in the weeks before the election.
Yet the mailings came out before April 27, meaning that they should have been made public on May 4 at the latest. The campaign says it filed the report as soon as it got the bill from Moxie, but it raises questions about whether existing disclosure laws are even effective.
It's not the first time Moxie has come to Portland, and it's not the first time they've faced off against local strategist Mark Wiener, whose company, Winning Mark, ran the opposition campaign. It's also not the first time Wiener has beaten the pants off Moxie—most recently, they ran Nick Fish's campaign for city council, which lost to the Wiener-backed candidate, Sam Adams. (Yes, I'm fully aware of how graphically weird the phrase "wiener-backed" is, and I in no way mean it as a slight to Adams, whose back is most assuredly made of bricks and steel.)
Meanwhile! Everyone wants to know whether Potter is going to run for reelection. Too bad, because nobody knows. Maybe not even Potter.
On one hand, a newly hired staffer, Kevin Easton, has years of work running campaigns, leading some people to speculate that Potter is beginning to transition his mayoral office into a campaign. On the other hand, Potter's feelings about the mayor's job appear to nonchalant at best, and miserable at worst.
The question, then, is not so much whether he still wants the job, but whether his ego is too strong to not run again.