PORTLAND, Ore. - A woman who ran for City Council last year, and who was later accused of misusing campaign funds, testified Tuesday against a man who had collected signatures for her.
According to a City of Portland audit that was performed late last year, Emilie Boyles violated the city's public financing code by taking out a year's lease on her campaign headquarters, a former restaurant that she planned to use after the campaign for a food bank she runs. The audit also found that she paid her teenage daughter $12,500 for Internet marketing work.
The money came from a new election program that gives candidates about $150,000 in public funding to run their campaigns, as long as they are able to collect $5 donations from 1,000 people who provide signatures. The program is designed to offset the influence of big money in politics.
Boyles' questionable use of the money came to light through an investigation by The Oregonian. Questions about the signatures she had collected surfaced as well when upon closer inspection it appeared some of them might have been forged.
After learning of Boyles' actions, city officials demanded that she pay back the money she had been given, but she left town amid the scandal.
Boyles later surfaced as a reporter at a Montana television station, the smallest television market in the nation, and in testimony on Tuesday said she had since been promoted to News Director.
Boyles was in court to testify against the man who collected signatures for her, Vladimir Golovan (pictured below). He is on trial on charges of aggravated theft, forgery and identity theft in connection with last year's election.
State investigators say Golovan lied about collecting donations for Boyles and forged signatures for another City Council candidate, Lucinda Tate.
Both Tate and Boyles claim they did not realize there was a problem until the media revealed it to them.
"I think the city, quite frankly, was wrong in how they assessed the use of campaign funds," Boyles testified.
As for the money Boyles owes the City of Portland, she admitted in court that she has not done much to pay it back, which may be due in part to her small salary. At the television station in Glendive she makes just $9 per hour.