Complaint alleges Oregon GOP congressional candidate Mike Erickson withheld financial information

Mike Erickson, a Lake Oswego logistics consultant and the Republican nominee for the 6th Congressional District, is the subject of a complaint alleging he withheld financial information. (Campaign photo)

The head of a campaign finance watchdog group called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Oregon Republican congressional nominee Mike Erickson, saying his financial disclosure reports are among “the most egregious cases of intentional withholding of information” the group has ever seen.

A complaint submitted by End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller alleges that the personal financial disclosure reports Erickson filed as a candidate in 2022 and 2024 don’t provide enough information about more than $100 million in assets, violating federal law and U.S. House ethics rules and preventing Oregon voters from being able to assess whether his financial interests conflict with the responsibilities he would have as a member of Congress. 

“Given the scope of the finances in question – which totals at least $105 million – this is one of the most egregious cases of intentional withholding of information we have ever seen,” Muller said in a statement to the Capital Chronicle. “This is not a mere oversight. It’s a brazen and calculated move to keep voters in the dark, especially considering that he filed these same exact forms accurately in two of his previous runs for office.”

Erickson is running against first-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Andrea Salinas in Oregon’s 6th Congressional District, one of the most competitive in the country. This is Erickson’s fourth run for Congress, after losing in 2006, 2008 and 2022. His most recent 2.4-point loss to Salinas was the closest, with a candidate from the Constitution Party attracting some voters who might otherwise have supported Erickson. 

The Lake Oswego businessman self-funds his campaigns. In 2022, he loaned his campaign nearly $2.8 million, more than two-thirds of the total the campaign raised. He loaned his campaign more than $3.7 million during the 2006 and 2008 campaigns, when he raised about $650,000 total from other sources. So far this year, Erickson has loaned his campaign just $2,400 of the roughly $140,000 he raised, but observers expect that to pick up as the general election draws closer. 

Candidates for federal offices, along with current elected officials, Supreme Court justices and many federal employees, are required by the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to file reports detailing their personal finances. Muller’s complaint alleges that Erickson’s 2022 and 2024 reports omit information about underlying holdings in his retirement accounts, the rental properties he owns, the banks he uses, the businesses he’s involved in and the positions he has held.

Chuck Adams, a consultant for Erickson’s campaign, said Erickson was traveling and unavailable to comment, and dismissed Muller’s complaint as a political stunt. 

“The group who filed this complaint appears to be a front for the Democrats,” Adams said in a text message. “It’s a typical tactic to try to create negative issues and get headlines where none exist.” 

End Citizens United was founded in 2015 to fight a controversial 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that enabled corporations and other big-money interests to spend unlimited amounts on elections.  The Washington D.C.-based group supports Democratic candidates and works to curtail money in politics.

Several apparent violations

The complaint lays out several apparent violations of the Ethics in Government Act and the guide the House Committee on Ethics created with instructions for candidates.

In both 2022 and 2024, Erickson reported having between $1 million and $5 million in a 401(k) retirement account. But House Ethics rules require candidates to list any underlying assets in that retirement fund that are valued at more than $1,000 or generate more than $200. Erickson followed those rules when he ran in 2006 and 2008, according to the complaint.

“The fact that Mr. Erickson knows about the requirement to list the underlying assets of his investment accounts – and even complied with it in the past – makes his violations of the act even worse,” the complaint said. “Mr. Erickson’s deliberate obfuscation of his reporting requirements must be investigated immediately.”

Erickson also reported in both 2022 and 2024 that Erickson Properties had assets valued at between $25 million and $50 million and that he received rent income, but he didn’t follow ethics rules that required him to disclose the city, state and general description of any rental property. His 2022 report says properties are located in Clackamas, Tillamook and Deschutes counties, while a company website lists vacation rentals in Neskowin, Sunriver and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Several reviews on the company’s Yelp page, where it has an average rating of 1.5 out of 5 stars, refer to negative experiences with Erickson’s wife, Katie. 

Erickson reported having between $1 million and $5 million in cash in 2022 and between $500,000 and $1 million in cash in 2024, but ethics rules mandate that candidates include the names of any financial institution where they have more than $5,000 in a checking or savings account. 

Lawsuit continues

In October of 2022, Erickson sued Salinas over a campaign ad that said he “was charged with felony drug possession of illegal oxycodone” during a 2016 arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, though prosecutors never formally charged him. The parties are now waiting for a decision from the Oregon Court of Appeals about whether Erickson’s $800,000 claim can move forward or is blocked by a state law that protects against lawsuits intended to silence free speech.

In both years, Erickson listed assets of between $25 million and $50 million tied to a company referred to only as “AFMS LLC,” without including the required description of the business or its geographic location. And he reported between $1 million and $5 million both years in rent from a boat, which in 2022 he said was part of a fishing charter business. 

“Rather than complying with the straightforward requirements in the law and committee instructions, Mr. Erickson provided – at best – a partially completed Schedule A that includes vague asset descriptions such as ‘401K’ (without a list of the underlying holdings), ‘Erickson Properties’ (without listing the underlying properties), and ‘Cash’ (without the name of the financial institution),” the complaint said. “This is an obvious attempt to hide the exact information Mr. Erickson is required by law to disclose to the public.”

Erickson’s financial disclosure report also lacked any information about various companies he’s involved in, including a luxury vineyard. Public records show he is a registered agent or sole member of at least eight different companies not listed on his financial disclosure report: Erickson Properties LLC, Erickson Properties II LLC, Erickson Properties III LLC, Erickson Properties IV LLC, Erickson Vacation Homes LLC, Erickson Vacation Homes II LLC, Erickson Vacation Properties LLC and Erickson Cellars Vineyard LLC.

Some of those businesses are owned by the Michael K. Erickson Revocable Trust, which is not listed on his financial disclosure report. And he did not report any assets owned by his wife or children, another requirement under the financial disclosure laws. His wife is or was a part owner of the vineyard, according to an archived version of the vacation home website. 

Erickson listed his annual $255,000 salary from his transportation management company AFMS, but he did not identify any companies that paid AFMS more than $5,000 for his services, as required under the financial reporting mandates. Erickson has boasted in past campaigns that he personally advised some of the world’s largest brands, including Starbucks, John Deere and Under Armour. 

Finally, Erickson did not report any positions he holds in any companies, nonprofit organizations or institutions. Along with being an officer for several limited liability companies, he describes himself in campaign materials as being a board member of the Maurice Lucas Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides school programs and sports for Portland youth. 

“Voters deserve a transparent, detailed financial disclosure report in order to understand what Mike Erickson stands to gain from being in Congress and identify any conflicts of interest,” Muller said. “Transparency is not optional – it’s a legal requirement. We urge the DOJ to immediately investigate Mike Erickson and hold him accountable for withholding this critical information.”

Oregon Capital Chronicle is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Oregon Capital Chronicle maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Lynne Terry for questions: [email protected]. Follow Oregon Capital Chronicle on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact Quinn Stoddard
[email protected] or 503-390-1051

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