Deschutes County Commissioner Took Donation From Political Opponent’s Abuser
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the details of legal proceedings involving Peter Lowes. Lowes pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. He completed a domestic violence deferred sentencing program, and prosecutors allowed him to withdraw his guilty plea. The case was dismissed without prejudice in 2017. OPB regrets the error.
Deschutes County Commissioner Tony DeBone accepted campaign money from a man who pleaded guilty in an assault case involving DeBone’s political opponent, Amy Lowes.
Bend real estate broker Peter Lowes pleaded guilty to assault two years ago; prosecutors later allowed him to withdraw his plea and dismissed the case without prejudice. On Oct. 17, Lowes donated $2,000 to DeBone, a Republican seeking his third term on the county commission. Amy Lowes is the Democratic candidate in the race.
DeBone said he was aware of the contribution from Peter Lowes, and that the couple was divorced, but insists he didn’t know about the history of domestic violence.
“I’m digesting that concept right now, as you’re laying out this information,” DeBone said when OPB reached him by phone Friday. “This is a political contribution from a business person in our town that I don’t have a relationship with.”
Amy Lowes was skeptical of DeBone's ignorance: “I find it very difficult to believe that my opponent was unaware,” she said.
“I’m disappointed my opponent would choose to take a sizable donation from my abuser. I never had any intention of politicizing this.”
Lowes said she wants DeBone to donate the money to a domestic violence shelter and service provider in Bend, Saving Grace.
Peter Lowes denied attacking his ex-wife; he initially pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from the incident. More serious charges against him were dropped as part of that plea. On Friday, he confirmed the donation, and said DeBone’s campaign had already called to say it would return the money.
Before now, Amy Lowes has not publicly talked about surviving domestic violence as part of her campaign.
“Because I don't want to share my story unless I can actually do it from a place of helping other survivors, and politicizing my story doesn't feel authentic,” she said.
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