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Candidate paid $78,000 by same group first lady worked for

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Jules Bailey formally announces his candidacy for Portland mayor. Multnomah County Commissioner Jules Bailey, now in the spotlight as a candidate for Portland mayor, says federal investigators’ scrutiny of former First Lady Cylvia Hayes does not reflect on him, though they once worked for the same politically active nonprofit.

“It's not like we were friends, or collaborating, or anything like that,” Bailey said, though one email that turned up in a public records search showed that Bailey asked Hayes to “debrief” about the nonprofit.

Bailey says that he wasn’t paid to influence Oregon policies, as Hayes apparently was – despite his former employer’s fundraising letters to the contrary.

Both worked for the nonprofit Clean Economy Development Center, which sought to influence energy policies in several states, including Oregon. Hayes’ work for the group as a “clean economy fellow” has been thoroughly scrutinized, but Bailey’s ties to the same organization have received little attention.

Bailey, a former state lawmaker and consultant on energy investments and retrofit programs, says there’s good reason for that. He says his work for the nonprofit was completely appropriate and conflicting accounts about his role are due to overly aggressive marketing. He provided documents and emails he exchanged with the group, as well as tax documents verifying the $78,000 he received from the group in 2011-2012.

Nevertheless, the connection to Hayes could impact Bailey’s candidacy. The former first lady was viewed “poorly” in Oregon public opinion polling last summer, said John Horvick, vice president and political director of DHM Research.

“Being affiliated with anything that has Cylvia Hayes' fingerprints on it is not something any candidate is going to want to have come up,” said Jim Moore, a Pacific University political science professor who heads the Tom McCall Center for Policy Innovation.

Porous ethics laws

The story of Bailey’s consulting work is significant for another reason. It shows how Oregon ethics law allows public officials to receive significant sums from entities with a clear interest in what they do in their elected jobs — without ever disclosing that income.

In Bailey’s financial disclosure forms, he did not list Washington D.C.-based CEDC as a source of income — nor is he required to. Instead, he listed the income as from his personal consulting business.

Nor did Bailey disclose his economic link to the energy nonprofit in the one-month 2012 legislative session, when he co-chaired the House energy committee—while taking a break in his $13,000-a-month consulting stint for the energy advocacy group.

The center hoped to influence policies in Oregon and elsewhere without engaging in formal lobbying. However, Bailey says the money he received was in exchange only for work he provided in Rhode Island, not here.

His campaign consultant, Stacey Dycus, wrote in an email that Bailey did not disclose the outside funding because no legal conflict of interest existed under Oregon laws.

“Conflict exists when an elected official or their family receives a direct financial benefit as a direct result of the legislation. Jules had nothing to gain financially from voting for clean energy bills in Oregon."

Bailey’s role

Back in 2009, Bailey spearheaded legislation promoting home energy retrofits that helped forge a relationship with Jeffrey King of the Clean Economy Network, a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group formed by activists, entrepreneurs and investors in green energy and technology who sought government programs to help their bottom line while combatting climate change.

King, who is from Portland, then headed the nonprofit Clean Economy Development Center, which sought to engage with government officials to build programs and promote projects with “strong investor returns.”

The group set up a fellowship program as Bailey and Hayes were looking for work. Hayes' private consulting had become a political headache for the newly elected Kitzhaber in the wake of an Oregon Department of Justice investigation of a subcontract she received through the state.

A draft Aug. 8, 2011, funding proposal said Bailey would use his networking and political and economic expertise to set up a green bank in Rhode Island, describing him as CEDC’s “first Clean Economy Fellow.”

Click here to see draft Rhode Island grant proposal.

Two weeks later, fundraising letters went to the Energy Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, asking for money to support clean economy fellows to engage with “strategic stakeholders” and “lead in the development of new, multi-state, regional initiatives, beginning in the Northwest.”

King later wrote to Hayes that Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Energy Foundation funded CEDC “with the understanding that you and Jules Bailey would be the Senior Fellows.”

Bailey, for his part, says he agreed to do some consulting and also agreed to be called a fellow — but he contends the title was intended only for fundraising. He supplied reports saying he made four flights to Rhode Island for numerous meetings, though the project eventually died. Bailey says he spent two months there.

Click here to see Rhode Island final report.

A February 2012 fundraising letter by CEDC touting its efforts, however, says the fellows worked in Oregon on multi-state initiatives, as well as a 10-year Oregon energy plan and a “strategic approach” to blocking coal export facilities on the West Coast. The fellows would also help set up a “clean economy section” in the Huffington Post.

Bailey dismisses the letter as “marketing.” But records show he did co-sign a CEDC letter urging the Huffington Post to set up a clean economy section. He, like Hayes, was part of an informal group of people tapped for advice on a multistate environmental initiative called the Pacific Coast Collaborative, which was used to push administrative and legal changes.

Bailey stressed that his Oregon policy work had nothing to do with CEDC.

“I had real work on a discrete contract that ended after six months,” he said, of the Rhode Island job.

Later, through his mayoral campaign, he indicated he did not have a contract, which would have laid out a clear scope of work.

He says he was paid using funding from two foundations, only one of which, Rockefeller Foundation, limited its grant to work in Rhode Island. The other Rockefeller Brothers Fund — a separate entity— contributed $100,000 in “general support” to CEDC in October 2011, following the earlier fundraising pitches citing its fellowship program.

Though Bailey noted that his funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund was labeled “general support” rather than for the fellowship, the foundation's spokeswoman, Katarina Yee, said in an email the group funded the fellowship program, including Bailey's work as a fellow.

Later, Yee added, the group received a “detailed report from CEDC on the work of the fellows, including Mr. Bailey, regarding work to build state capacity in Rhode Island to implement clean energy programs related to financing building retrofits.” Yee declined to release the report.

King did not respond to efforts to reach him. Bailey supplied a Jan. 15 email from King that echoed Bailey’s account and contradicted CEDC’s earlier fundraising materials, saying Bailey was a fellow “in name only.”

Bailey said he stopped working for CEDC in March 2012 because its staff economist quit and the group was "imploding." He said a press release from his next employer, which stated he helped "craft clean energy projects around the nation" as a CEDC fellow, was inaccurate.

Ethics changes needed?

The murkiness of the matter “raises questions,” said Moore, the political science professor. He questioned the weakness of Oregon ethics law that allowed Bailey to co-chair the House energy committee without disclosing he was engaged in a six-month consulting engagement with the politically active nonprofit.

Oregon public officials are asked to list their major sources of income in their statements of economic interest. But if they own their own businesses, as Bailey does, they can list that business as the source of income, and not their clients.

Bailey says that while he simply followed the explicit directions on the form, he agrees lawmakers should have to disclose major clients — rather than just say they received income from the companies they own or work for.

“In a small state like Oregon, I think it's important to have transparency on where all that (outside) income is coming from. I would totally support that,” he said.

Others are not so sure. State Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, said he was surprised that Bailey was not required to disclose his income. But, he added, disclosure can go too far, noting that in Oregon’s citizen legislature, lawmakers are expected to have outside jobs.

Greenlick alluded to the fact that if not for the Hayes controversy, Bailey’s paid work for the energy nonprofit likely would never have come to light.

“It’s just sort of unlucky that he got mixed up with Cylvia on this. If the other consultant was Jane Doe from Bend, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Hillary Borrud of the Pamplin Media Group/EO Media Group Capital Bureau contributed to this article.

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