Sen. Betsy Johnson’s bill to hold state agencies accountable

Sen. Betsy Johnson

Sen. Betsy Johnson

by NW Spotlight

Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week is reporting that Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) is introducing a bill in the upcoming Oregon legislative ‘short session’ to create a Legislative Committee on Accountability. The bill is SB 1577 (LC-0052), and would give the new committee subpoena powers to investigate state agencies.

The new committee is described: “This committee would be comprised of equal numbers of Democratic and Republican legislators. It would conduct performance and management audits of state agencies, state programs and state-funded programs.”

Sen. Johnson calls out the failures of Cover Oregon, the DHS Give Us This Day foster care abuse and the Department of Energy’s alleged price-fixing of business energy tax credits. She notes “it wasn’t state officials doing their jobs who exposed what was happening” in these scandals, it was local media. She asks “Where was government accountability in all of this?”

Sen. Johnson’s announcement concludes “Oregon leaders like to cite the state’s national reputation for lack of corruption. It’s easy to have a reputation for little corruption when you rarely investigate alleged wrongdoing and have nothing to prosecute. Our clean reputation is built on smiles and a deliberate unwillingness to look below the surface. We pretend corruption doesn’t exist, and then declare ourselves a national model for the rest of the country.”