NEWS4 November 2009

Springfield mayor calls for end to poll probe

Legal North America

US— The mayor at the centre of an investigation over a $2,000 payment made to a research firm run by his mother has asked officials to drop the probe and decide on a penalty.

Sid Leiken, the Mayor of Springfield, has urged officials to halt the enquiry into potential elections law violations and “determine the appropriate penalty” so he can “focus on the issues that face Springfield and the State of Oregon”.

A spokesman for Oregon’s elections division told local press that the agency had yet to decide its next move, but options included fining Leiken or referring the case to the Department of Justice for a possible criminal investigation.

The cash payment made to Leiken’s mother’s firm sparked an investigation by the Oregon Secretary of State in August after it was discovered that the company, P&G Marketing & Research, was not properly registered.

At the time, Leiken (pictured) admitted failing to properly document an expenditure transaction and repaid the money, however state officials then launched an investigation into the survey itself.

P&G Marketing & Research said it polled 200 people in 268 phone calls to gauge reaction to a new gas tax. Officials were not convinced by Glenda Leiken’s response and questioned whether the survey had actually taken place.

State compliance specialist Kathy Schamp wrote to her demanding more information about the survey, including worksheets or phone records for the phone calls and information about anyone who assisted her in the project.

Glenda Leiken responded saying that “no other documentation existed” other then a memo summarising the results of the survey, and she was unable to provide phone records as she had made the calls on a disposable mobile phone and call records were not available.

She then told officials to direct all further questions to her son, and in a letter sent last week to Kathy Schamp, Sid Leiken said: “My mother has no additional information or documentation to provide you. Since I am the elected official I am ultimately responsible for any lack of documentation and limited record keeping in this transaction.”