Oregon gets an ‘F’ in government integrity

F ReportCard_thb

by NW Spotlight

The Pulitzer-winning Center for Public Integrity and Global Integrity just came out with their 2015 State Integrity Investigation – and Oregon got an ‘F’. The ‘F’ grade was based on assessing the systems in place to deter corruption in state government.

The report highlighted the Kitzhaber-Hayes scandals and noted that Oregon is a “state where ethical behavior is assumed rather than regulated,” and “where good behavior is taken for granted rather than enforced.”

The report noted “Oregon’s overall failing grade represented a substantial dip from the C- the state received from the last State Integrity Investigation scorecard in 2012,” with the caveat that “the grades and scores are not directly comparable due to changes made to improve and update the questions and methodology.”

The investigation findings were reported locally in The Oregonian, by KGW, KOIN, KXL and in the Bend Bulletin.

The findings are hardly surprising to Oregon Republicans. Decades of one-party rule have led to complacency and partisan political protection for Democrats.

Republican former state Rep. Dennis Richardson said one of the key reasons he’s running for Oregon Secretary of State is because of “concerns about a lack of transparency and a failure to implement real reforms in the wake of the Kitzhaber scandal.” Richardson lamented “The legislature left many good ethics reform bills on the drafting room floor—bills that would have addressed lessons learned from the Kitzhaber debacle. Instead, we saw partisan politics win out.”

Republican state Sen. Doug Whitsett recently wrote at length on how “Further ethics reform still needed in Oregon.” Whitsett noted “Unfortunately, several other bills that would have provided much-needed ethics reform failed to pass in the highly partisan atmosphere of the 2015 session. Majority Democrats used their numerical advantage to keep many of these bills from advancing through the legislative process.”