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Oregon GOP figure dumps Sondland campaign contributions

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 20: Gordon Sondland, the U.S ambassador to the European Union, makes an opening statement before testifying to the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony during the fourth day of open hearings in the impeachment inquiry against U.S. President Donald Trump, whom House Democrats say held back U.S. military aid for Ukraine while demanding it investigate his political rivals and the unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukrainians, not Russians, were behind the 2016 computer hacking of the Democratic National Committee. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

SALEM, Ore. — A leading Republican in Oregon announced Tuesday he will dump campaign contributions from Gordon Sondland after sexual misconduct allegations against the Portland businessman-turned-diplomat surfaced last week.

Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who is embroiled in the impeachment probe against President Donald Trump, has called the claims of unwanted touching and kissing “untrue.”

But Knute Buehler, who ran unsuccessfully as the Republican nominee for governor of Oregon in 2018 and is considering a run for Congress in 2020, said he and his wife Patty were disturbed by the allegations.

ProPublica and Portland Monthly reported on Nov. 27 that Sondland had engaged in unwanted sexual behavior with three women, and that the cases span a seven-year period, ending less than a decade ago.

Buehler’s decision was first reported by Oregon Public Broadcasting. A former member of the state Legislature, Buehler is considering running for the Republican nomination for the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives currently held by Rep. Greg Walden, a Republican who is not seeking re-election to a 12th term.

“Upon learning of the serious allegations against Mr. Sondland Wednesday evening, Patty and I made the decision over the holiday weekend to donate $22,500, the same amount of the campaign contributions I received from him for my gubernatorial campaign,” Buehler said in a statement.

He said that on Tuesday he informed the Bethlehem Inn homeless shelter in his hometown of Bend, Oregon, and CASA of Central Oregon, which advocates for children and youth in foster care, that they would each be receiving $11,250 from his former gubernatorial committee.

Buehler is the second Oregon politician to distance himself financially from Sondland because of the allegations.

Portland Commissioner Nick Fish said on Nov. 27 that he was donating $1,500 in personal campaign contributions he had received from Sondland to a women’s crisis hotline.

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