An anonymous IRS complaint alleging tax fraud landed on the Mercury news desk last week, alleging that city council candidate Charles Lewis "has expolited [sic] the work of Ethos Music Center, a nonprofit organization which he founded and directs, for the promotion of his bid for elected office."
The supposed evidence? A November 2007 fundraiser "benefitting [sic] both Ethos and his election campaign," which the complainant alleges violates rules against nonprofits participating in political candidates' campaigns.
Tim Crail, treasurer for candidate Amanda Fritz, called the city auditor "to express concern" over the same issue last November, according to a November 26 memo from City Elections Officer Andrew Carlstrom. Crail, who did not file a formal complaint with Carlstrom, says the IRS complaint was "absolutely not" from him, and his November calls to the auditor were simply to ask questions.
The auditor "said there was no merit whatsoever" to the concerns in November, Lewis says, adding that "Ethos and my campaign are two totally separate organizations. The charges made via anonymous letter are absolutely baseless."
Indeed, the fundraiser—hosted by Amplified Techniques, a separate third party—benefited Ethos via a $7 suggested donation. Volunteers also solicited $5 contributions for Lewis' campaign outside the venue. AMY J. RUIZ
RACIAL PROFILING SUIT
An African American man is suing the police bureau for racial profiling, after winning his appeal in the ninth circuit court in June last year. Bennie Demetrius Washington was found guilty of possessing a firearm after a gun was found in his car by Officers Daryl Shaw and Troy Pahlke in November 2004, but the appeals court ruled that their search of his vehicle was unconstitutional. Washington's suit, which seeks unspecified damages, alleges Shaw and Pahlke, "both white officers, were desirous of harassing a young black male adult." MATT DAVIS
It's been less than a month since Oregon's domestic partnership law took effect (see pg. 6 for an update on implementation of the law). Is extending marriage to same-sex couples next? If it is, how do we get there? Join the Mercury and the Bus Project for our monthly Debate Club series, as our panel of guests dissects domestic partnerships vs. marriage—the conversation's happening at rontom's (600 E Burnside) on Wednesday, February 27, at 7 pm. AJR