Oregon Senate Republicans
Salem, Ore. – Thursday, Senate Republicans called for the passage of a package of measures to strengthen ethics and increase transparency in Oregon’s government. The cornerstone of the proposal, introduced on the Senate floor Thursday, is a Senate Republican bill challenging Governor Brown’s apparent campaign kickback corruption that would prevent a Governor from receiving campaign contributions from organizations for which they secure pay raises.
“The pervasive culture of corruption stemming from one-party rule in Oregon continues,” explained Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “It’s been nearly a year since Governor Kitzhaber resigned amidst an environmental policy corruption scandal, and despite several promises to strengthen ethics in Oregon from Governor Brown, the legacy of corruption lives on. This package of bills include tangible steps Oregon can take to prevent such corruption in the future.”
2016 Senate Republican Ethics and Transparency Agenda
One Senate Republican proposal would prohibit state officials, including Governor Kate Brown, from accepting campaign contributions from organizations or businesses with which the public official negotiated a contract in the previous two years.
Governor Kate Brown recently negotiated a significant raise for state union workers that cost far more than the amount approved by the legislature. AFSCME has already repaid Governor Brown with a $100,000 campaign donation, saying the donation was because “members appreciated Brown’s handling of contract negotiations.” This apparent kickback corruption follows Governor Brown’s abandonment of a pledge to pass a transportation package in 2015 after California billionaire and Democrat megadonor Tom Steyer pushed back. Reminiscent of the Kitzhaber scandal, these ongoing apparent campaign kickbacks ruin public trust in our state government, add to the significant budget shortfall in the next biennium, and potentially allow state officials to pressure those they negotiate with to donate to their campaigns.
Public trust in state regulators is lower than ever due to corruption scandals in state agencies under Democrat leadership. Oregonians deserve better. It is time to ensure that all public officials are held accountable for their actions, and the first step is preventing them from hiding behind thinly-veiled legal privilege. Agency bureaucrats should be required to identify the information on which they base their decisions so that Oregonians can judge for themselves whether sound decisions are being made.
A lack of transparency is eroding public faith in the legislature. It is time to ensure that all legislators are held accountable for their actions by requiring them to take responsibility for their work. A simple way to increase transparency is to require legislators to put their names on amendments they introduce. If they are really doing what’s best for Oregon, what do they have to hide?