NEWS17 November 2009

Springfield mayor fined over phantom poll

Legal North America

US— The Oregon Elections Division has fined Springfield mayor Sid Leiken after finding him guilty of violating campaign finance laws over a payment he supposedly made to his mother’s market research agency to conduct a poll about a new gas tax.

The investigation ruled that “it does not appear that a poll was ever conducted” after the mayor’s mother was unable to provide records to verify its existence and her company could not provide any evidence to prove it had been paid for the work.

As a result the elections body decided that Leiken (pictured) had “converted campaign funds for personal use” and has ordered him to pay $2,000 – the amount he claimed for the poll – plus a fine of $250.

Leiken has claimed to have already paid $2,000 back in to his campaign fund after it emerged that his mother’s company, P&G Marketing and Research, was not properly registered.

Attention then shifted to the survey itself after Glenda Leiken, the mayor’s mother, claimed to have made 268 phone calls to poll 200 people but was unable to provide any documentation detailing her methodology.

Mrs Leiken said she had used a disposable mobile phone to make the survey calls and had since thrown it away. According to the Elections Division’s findings, Mrs Leiken had told investigators she was unable to remember the name of the phone network or provide a receipt to prove she had owned a phone.

Earlier this month Leiken urged officials to close the investigation into the matter and decide on a penalty for him.