Dennis Richardson on Cover Oregon: Oregonians deserve the truth

Dennis Richardson SOS

Dennis Richardson for Secretary of State

Dennis Richardson Statement on US Congressional Review of Cover Oregon

Central Point, Oregon – Secretary of State candidate Dennis Richardson, who as an Oregon state legislator and Ways and Means Co-Chair, blew the whistle on the Cover Oregon scandal, this week called for increased transparency and a complete audit of Cover Oregon.

Richardson cites the release of a US Congressional Oversight and Reform Committee report that found Governor Kitzhaber mismanaged Cover Oregon funds and made management decisions for personal political gain during his 2014 gubernatorial campaign. Further, the Congressional committee has asked the US Department of Justice to launch a criminal investigation into the collusion between Kitzhaber’s campaign and his public employee staff as it related to management decisions for Cover Oregon.

“After $300 million in tax dollars wasted on building the Cover Oregon website, and now with millions in General Fund dollars being spent on litigation between the Oregon Department of Justice and Oracle, it’s time Oregonians receive a full accounting of what really happened at Cover Oregon,” Richardson stated. “It’s for the US Department of Justice to resolve the issue of whether a crime was committed, but at the local level, it’s time to shine a light on where our tax dollars went and what lessons can be learned to avoid such waste in the future.”

Early into its launch, Richardson warned Governor Kitzhaber that Cover Oregon was off the rails and bleeding money. A report from Maximus, an independent quality assurance vendor, nailed the project with numerous red flags and warned that Cover Oregon was “high risk” moving forward. Political appointees hired by Kitzhaber to oversee Cover Oregon testified before the legislature that the project was on track, even as behind the scenes, political advisors were working to keep the truth from being made public during Kitzhaber’s re-election campaign.

“Nearly two years later, newspaper outlets are still waiting for records requests to be made public and Oregonians still don’t have the truth,” exclaimed Richardson. “Statewide elected officials worked to shield Kitzhaber and continue to have zero interest in getting to the bottom of what really happened with Cover Oregon.”

Richardson noted that the failure of the project resulted in Oregonians losing their health coverage, and further attempts to resolve issues with the health exchange continue to be made without good data. “The legislature made the decision to ‘abolish’ Cover Oregon, with no understanding of whether that was the right decision. It led to another decision to move to the Federal exchange, which has now led to another decision to explore creating yet another state exchange. All this, and we never once looked back at where it all went wrong.” Richardson said the only way to stop making repeated and costly mistakes is for the Secretary of State to do a thorough audit of Cover Oregon.

“As Secretary of State, we’ll do a complete dissection of Cover Oregon so we can get to the bottom of why it failed,” he said. “And in the future, all large-scale projects will be assigned an auditor at the start of a project so that we catch problems before taxpayer dollars are wasted.”

Richardson said all findings of a Cover Oregon audit will be transparent to the public and the press, regardless of their results. “We can’t have a Secretary of State who will use the office to shield those who were responsible for the loss of millions of tax dollars. Oregonians deserve the truth.”

  • Bob Clark

    Dennis is a good man, and needs support. He’s up against Darth Vader Avakian, who demonstrates a strong desire to expand his powers as far as fast as he can; and well beyond the recognized duties of the Secretary of State.

    • Granola girl

      Agreed Bob. Avakian waged the fine on Sweet Cakes By Melissa that pretty much destroyed their lively hood, All because he felt sorry for the gay couple who lied about knowing Melissa and what she had said. He is truly a snake..

      • AG-rivated Alert

        Avakian and Bradbury from the same pit. Den there’s Kate Brown emergent from SOS hospitality.

        Oregon ought have an elected Lt Governor and conduct a roundup of the slither’s rattling legislative chambers occupying the statehouse since 1987.

    • DavidAppell

      Dennis is far too much of a radical right-winger to get elected to any state-wide office.

      Most people in Oregon just don’t want that. We’re not Oklahoma or Mississippi, thankfully.

      • Native, not naive Oregonain

        The sooner you move away from Oregon, the better our state of common sense will improve up-righter monsieur..

  • davidg

    Richardson’s interesting article fails to mention the incredibly stupid position that the Oregon state government finds itself in.

    On one hand, the state is suing Oracle corporation and in response Oracle has counter sued. In the lawsuit Oregon posits that Oracle was responsible for the failure of Cover Oregon. Very big dollars are at stake.

    On the other hand Kitzhaber was forced to resign for, among other things, mismanaging Cover Oregon. Further investigation by the Secretary of State will only likely go to show the inept management by the State of Cover Oregon. A criminal indictment/conviction of Kitzhaber related to Cover Oregon would surely torpedo the State’s whole theory of its lawsuit against Oracle. Additionally, the State needs Kitzhaber’s cooperative testimony in order to prosecute its civil action against Oracle. Kitz won’t be cooperating with anybody as long as he faces potential criminal liability. Ergo, Oregon’s Secretary of State won’t be doing any investigation that could also serve Oracle’s interests.

    When you realize that anything the State does to investigate the Cover Oregon fiasco can kill its theory in the Oracle debacle, then you understand why there can’t/won’t be an impartial investigation by the State of Cover Oregon. The blame postulated in the Oracle lawsuit would likely be contradicted by the findings of the State’s investigation of itself. So … it ain’t gonna happen.

    The famous Laurel & Hardy line applies here. “This is a fine mess.”

    • Blot Dem knots off NOW

      And don’t forget the results of the Jayne Cease DMV-backle accosting taxpayher bucks -and, still she goes free, er transferred, to further enrich en her PERS. .

    • DavidAppell

      Kitzhaber did not resign for anything to do with Cover Oregon. It had to do with the positions he was encouraging his fiance to take, and they were unrelated to Cover Oregon.

      • guess who

        And I have beach front property in Arizona for sale. Get it now before the big quake.

      • Seize Ya

        Bellow unfit, crab appell!