On Feb. 20 The Eye reported that Orestar, the Oregon state campaign finance database, showed that The Bulletin had given a $4,000 in-kind contribution to the Bend Business PAC, the political arm of the Chamber of Commerce, before the last election.
But now an official with the Secretary of State's Office says it was just an honest mistake on the part of the Chamber's PAC.
Prodded by local blogger Bruce Ewert, Nancy E. Ferry of the Secretary of State's office contacted Chamber of Commerce Board Member Troy Reinhart and Jennifer High, the person who entered the contribution. High's story was that the $4,000 really was contributed by the Iverson Group, a Prineville ad agency, to buy Bulletin advertising. Iverson should have been listed as the contributor, not The Bulletin, High said. "Jennifer assured me that they were not trying to hide anything, they just didn't understand how to report it," Ferry e-mailed Ewert.
Based on High's and Reinhart's word, Ferry was willing to let High amend the filing to indicate that the Iverson Group, not The Bulletin, made the contribution.
Asked whether she had any documents or other evidence to corroborate High's and Reinhart's story, Ferry told The Eye yesterday: "Well, I believe it was an honest mistake based on talking to them. ... No, I don't have any documents that actually show that. We don't go out and create investigations. If you were to file a formal complaint we would investigate."