By Don Iler • News Editor • 

Nearman complaint forwarded to AG

The complaint was filed by Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas, who Senate district encompasses the House district in question. He was a staunch supporter of incumbent Rep. Jim Thompson, who fell victim to Nearman's intra-party insurgency.

The complaint has been under investigation by the Elections Division, an arm of the Secretary of State's Office, ever since. But the Elections Division said it has now decided to suspend its civil investigation pending the conclusion of the attorney general's criminal investigation.

In an e-mail to Boquist, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Taylor said the case was being transferred because "the Elections Division believes the referral is the most efficient way forward given the complexity, breadth, and nature" of the complaint.

A pair of conservative social issues PACS operated by Oregon Right to Life and the Oregon Family Council pumped more than $90,000 into the Nearman campaign. That helped Nearman romp to an almost 2-1 victory in the heavily Republican district, which stretches south from McMinnville city limits through rural portions of Yamhill, Polk and Benton counties.

The district takes in rural Republican-leaning Amity, Dayton and Philomath, but skirts more populous and Democratic-leaning McMinnville and Corvallis. That makes Nearman a prohibitive favorite in November over Democrat Wanda Davis.

Boquist's backing of Thompson, continued opposition to Nearman and campaign complaint against Nearman have not gone unchallenged. Nearman has countered with a complaint against Boquist and a threat to set his sights on his fellow Republican's Senate seat two years hence.

Meanwhile, Thompson's son, Jonathan, has filed a complaint against the Polk County Republican Central Committee, which Nearman chairs. 

Boquist's complaint accuses Nearman of several campaign violations, including mail fraud, illegal collusion with the two PACs and misreporting of campaign contributions and expenditures.

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