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Republican Knute Buehler Gives Up $22,500 In Donations From Gordon Sondland

<p>Oregon state Rep. Knute Buehler speaks to supporters after winning the Republican primary to challenge Kate Brown for the governor&rsquo;s&nbsp;seat.</p>

Allison Frost

Oregon state Rep. Knute Buehler speaks to supporters after winning the Republican primary to challenge Kate Brown for the governor’s seat.

Republican Knute Buehler, who unsuccessfully ran for Oregon governor last year, on Tuesday became the third politician to get rid of campaign donations from Gordon Sondland.

Sondland, a Portland businessman-turned-diplomat now at the center of the House impeachment hearings, was accused last week of sexual misconduct by three Portland-area women in a story published by Portland Monthly and ProPublica.

Buehler said in a statement that “upon learning of the serious allegations against Mr. Sondland” that he and his wife Patty decided to donate to charity the $22,500 that Sondland had given to Buehler’s gubernatorial campaign.

The action comes as Buehler is considering a race for the 2nd Congressional District seat that will be vacated by retiring GOP Rep. Greg Walden.

The sexual misconduct allegations also prompted Portland Commissioner Nick Fish to donate the $1,500 in campaign contributions he had received from Sondland, who ran a Portland-based hotel chain before becoming U.S. ambassador to the European Union.

Even before those allegations, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler had announced earlier in November that he would give up $16,000 in donations he had received from Sondland between 2012 and 2016.  At the time, Wheeler’s campaign manager, Jennifer Arguinzoni, said that questions had been raised about Sondland’s role in pressuring Ukrainian officials to conduct politically motivated investigations in exchange for U.S. military aid.

Sondland said the accounts by the three women are all untrue and said in a statement that “I categorically deny them.”

Buehler said that his former campaign gubernatorial committee, which still operates as a political committee, will donate $11,250 each to the Bethlehem Inn homeless shelter in Bend and CASA of Central Oregon. The latter group provides court-appointed special advocates for children in foster care.

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Jeff Mapes is a senior political reporter at Oregon Public Broadcasting. Previously, Jeff covered state and national politics for The Oregonian for nearly 32 years. He has covered numerous presidential, congressional, gubernatorial and ballot measure campaigns, as well as many sessions of the Legislature, stretching back to 1985. Jeff graduated from San Jose State University with a B.A. in journalism.