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Joy Teriyaki owner, Justin Hwang, defends providing free cuisine at public events

A campaign violation complaint was filed to the Oregon Secretary of State against the Republican candidate for Oregon House District 49 on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

The complaint was filed by Jenn Baker, the executive director of FuturePAC, a Democratic political action committee.

The grievance alleges Justin Hwang's campaign for the Oregon House of Representatives violated state law prohibiting giving out valuable items with the intent to influence votes by serving free food from Joy Teriyaki at three community events.

Hwang owns the Joy Teriyaki restaurant chain.

The events where Hwang served chicken were a community barbecue on Aug. 6, Fairview's National Night Out on Aug. 6, and the "Fairview on the Green" celebration on Sept. 8.

In a statement addressing the allegations, Hwang responded that the events in which the food was served were not political gatherings.

"I'm saddened that my opponent's supporters would resort to filing a petty elections complaint against my campaign arising from my participation in a nonpolitical community event," Hwang said.

Baker claims serving the complimentary food was a violation of Oregon Revised Statute 260.665, which states that items of value are not allowed to be given away to influence elections.

"In at least two of the three incidents, Mr. Hwang has offered an item of value (chicken teriyaki bowls), and promoted it (on Facebook) as an inducement, all in an attempt to get people to meet and presumably support Mr. Hwang's candidacy," Baker said in the complaint.

Hwang said he has done nothing wrong.

"As a proud immigrant to this country, I have worked hard to play by the rules and have always been thankful to be so warmly embraced by my fellow Americans," Hwang said. "Only since I decided to run for office have I experienced the ugliness the political system can produce. I look forward to answering any questions the Secretary of State may have for me and to putting this partisan accusation to rest as soon as possible."

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