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The Open & Accountable Election Program finds that the City Council candidate did not break state or local campaign finance laws.

CONTRIBUTED - Loretta SmithPortland City Council candidate Loretta Smith has been cleared of charges that she violated the requirements of Portland's public Open & Accountable Elections campaign financing program.

Smith, a former Multnomah County Commissioner, is running against longtime school advocate Dan Ryan to fill the late Commissioner Nick Fish's unexpired. term. The first results will be announced when ballots are due at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 11.

Two complaints had been filed against Smith. One charged her with violating the $20,000 limit on in-kind contributions. The other accused her of violating the $250 contribution limit by reporting an anonymous $6,000 contribution.

In a Wednesday, Aug. 5, letter to Smith's campaign, program Director Susan Mottet said Smith accepted less than $20,000 in in-kind contributions from the United Food And Commercial Workers in the primary election and less than $20,000 from the union in the runoff special election.

"The determination is that the campaign did not violate the $20,000 in-kind limit. The error was in reporting the date of the contribution only. This error has been corrected," Mottet wrote.

In another Aug. 5 letter, Mottet said there was no evidence the anonymous $6,000 contribution violated campaign finance laws. Smith's campaign said the money consisted of cash contributions of $250 or less that had arrived in envelopes that were lost before the names of the contributors could be recorded. State election laws allows such contributions to be reported as one anonymous contribution. They do not qualify for city matching funds, and Smith's campaign did not submit them for matches.

The money was subsequently donated to the Oregon Food Bank.

"The campaign followed state and local law its handling. The determination is that there is no evidence of violating contribution limits by the campaign. The

campaign took appropriate and legally required actions to correct the error of losing remit envelopes by reporting the contributions as directed and donating them to a charity," Mottet wrote.

"I have said from the beginning that neither I nor my campaign violated any law when we appropriately followed Oregon political disclosure requirements," Smith said in a Thursday statement.

Mottet proposed fining the Smith campaign $125 for reporting the $6,000 late but waived the fine after it asked for reconsideration.

State elections officials fined Smith $250 in 2017 for not updating her political action committee filing when she first started running for the City Council in the 2018 primary election. Smith finished second in that race behind Jo Ann Hardesty, who defeated her in the November general election.

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