The main issue in the Sam Adams imbroglio isn't whether he unlawfully had sex with a minor; it's whether he violated Oregon's election laws by encouraging others to make false statements about his relationship with Mr. Breedlove.
For the convenience of any attorneys general who might drop by this obscure corner of the blogosphere, let's look at ORS 260.532, which reads in part:
(1) No person shall cause to be written, printed, published, posted, communicated or circulated, any letter, circular, bill, placard, poster, photograph or other publication * * * with knowledge or with reckless disregard that the letter, circular, bill, placard, poster, photograph, publication or advertisement contains a false statement of material fact relating to any candidate, political committee or measure.
The statute of limitations for this section is 30 days after the election, so the time to bring an action has expired. However, consider ORS 260.345:
(1) Any elector may file with any filing officer a written complaint alleging that a violation of an election law or rule * * * has occurred and stating the reason for believing that the violation occurred and any evidence relating to it. * * *
(3) Upon receipt of a complaint under subsection (1) or (2) of this section, the Secretary of State or Attorney General immediately shall examine the complaint to determine whether a violation of an election law or rule has occurred and shall make any investigation the Secretary of State or Attorney General considers necessary. * * *
(8) A filing officer having reason to believe that a violation of an election law or rule has occurred shall proceed promptly as though the officer had received a complaint.
And now look at ORS 260.355:
If, after a plea of guilty by or verdict of guilty against a person nominated or elected to a public office in a criminal prosecution of the person for violation of an election law in regard to either the person's nomination or election, the court determines that the violation was deliberate and material, the court, in addition to any other punishment it may impose, shall deprive the person of the nomination, or, if the person was elected to an office other than state Senator or state Representative, of the office. * * *
There are some wrinkles to this, mainly involving whether ORS 260.993 provides a penalty or merely limits the penalty for violating ORS 260.532, but here's what I think the argument could be.
Willamette Week's article suggests that Mr. Adams caused to be published a false statement with regard to himself and possibly Robert Ball, at a time when Mr. Ball was at least a prospective candidate for the office and when Mr. Adams clearly was a candidate. Was the statement material to the election? If so, then Mr. Adams violated ORS 260.532. Any filing officer, meaning in this race the Secretary of State, who has read the Willamette Week article may now have reason to believe that Mr. Adams violated an election law, and is obligated to start an investigation. Any elector (meaning a person registered to vote in the City of Portland) may send a copy of the article to the Secretary of State, Kate Brown, and point out her obligations under ORS 260.345(8). In fact, it's probably enough just to e-mail her a link to this post.