Bill Bradbury fails to follow his own election rules

By Dave Hunnicutt

As the state’s top election official, you’d think Secretary of State Bill Bradbury would understand and obey all election laws and rules, wouldn’t you?

After all, Bradbury never seems to have a problem “interpreting” the rules when it comes to imposing fines on unsuspecting chief petitioners or political action committees, and he sure can come up with clever “interpretations” when it comes time to knock out a few hundred signatures to keep a conservative measure off the ballot.

So Bradbury must be an expert in election law, right? Well think again.

In today’s advance sheets issued by the Oregon Court of Appeals, you will find a decision in Friends of Bill Bradbury and Bill Bradbury v. Oregon Department of Justice.

That’s right – Bill Bradbury sued the Oregon Attorney General’s office.

Why? Because in February, 2005, a complaint was filed with the Secretary of State’s Office alleging that Bradbury had not properly followed Oregon election law when he submitted his contribution and expenditure reports in his 2004 Secretary of State campaign.

That’s odd, because anyone who has ever been a treasurer of a political action committee knows that you are constantly under the gun to comply with every last rule promulgated by Lord Bradbury, including any “interpretations” that Lord Bradbury promulgates from the throne, whether they are disseminated to the public or not.

Failure to comply results in a fine and public flogging.

Shouldn’t Lord Bradbury have to comply with the same rules? Well apparently not, according to Lord Bradbury.

Whoever filed the complaint against Lord Bradbury was either smart or lucky, because a similar complaint had been filed against Attorney General Hardy Myers alleging that Myers had violated the exact same rule during his last campaign for Attorney General.

Because there was a pending complaint against Myers for the exact same conduct, Myers could not sweep the complaint against Bradbury under the rug. Instead, a special assistant attorney general from outside of the Department of Justice was hired to review the complaint.

The outside counsel concluded that Bradbury violated the very election laws that he is constitutionally bound to enforce as the state’s chief elections officer.

Bradbury sued, and today, the Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the decision of the outside counsel.

After today’s ruling, I’m hoping (but not holding my breath) that some reporter will ask Lord Bradbury one question — were you ignorant of the law that you are obligated to enforce, or did you simply think it didn’t apply to someone as important and powerful as you?