Top GOP House candidate under investigation

Oregon’s secretary of state has opened an investigation into irregularities in congressional candidate Sid Leiken’s mayoral campaign committee.

Secretary of State spokesman Don Hamilton said Wednesday that the office has opened an investigation into the Springfield mayor’s finances after receiving a complaint from the state Democratic Party.

Leiken kept his mayoral campaign account open while he explored a congressional campaign. The expenditures were made before his announced his run for Congress.

Oregon Democratic Party Executive Director Trent Lutz complained that a $2,000 expenditure from Leiken’s mayoral campaign committee went to a polling firm that is not licensed to do business in Oregon, and that the mailing address for the firm is the same as Leiken’s mother’s real estate business.

Leiken originally listed the payments as going to his own consulting firm, SWL Consulting, but an officeholder in Oregon cannot pay a business in which he or she has a financial stake.

When asked about it, he amended the forms to say he was reimbursing himself for the costs of the polling, and that the polling was performed by a company named P&G Marketing and Research.

But P&G Marketing and Research is apparently not registered with the state corporation commission and there is little record of its existence. Leiken has provided no information about it, failing to respond to media inquiries.

Leiken has been heralded as one of the GOP's top recruits in the country, as Republicans aim to go after Rep. Peter DeFazio's (D-Ore.) elusive seat.

He declined to comment Wednesday, citing the complaint.

“I have been advised to not discuss at this time due to a complaint filed from the Oregon Democratic Party to the Oregon secretary of state’s office,” Leiken said.