New emails: More problems over Kotek’s political investigations

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

In early 2021, former State Representative Diego Hernandez (D-Portland) filed a complaint against then-Speaker of the House Tina Kotek, alleging she threatened to end his career over his refusal to toe the line and vote with her on a 2019 bill that cut public employee benefits. The timing is suspect as early that same year, Hernandez resigned from the legislature after pressure from Kotek, when some of his previous intimate partners accused him of harassment.   To look into Hernandez’s claim of harassment against Kotek, legislative rules state investigations must be made by an independent party and ‘must be completed within 84 days from the date the complaint was made’. It took 609 days for a Stoel Rives lawyer, Melissa Healy, to produce her report. While the lawyer says the massive delay isn’t related to Kotek’s run for governor, this looks like political favoritism in a big way.

The Willamette Week reported the lawyers draft heavily favored Kotek in finding that the events likely went as Hernandez claimed, but her conduct of alleged threats did not violate legislative rules. Weird!  “The evidence more closely supports Hernandez’s version of the events,” Healy wrote. “That said, even assuming Hernandez’s recollection is correct, the evidence does not suggest that the conversation was anything more than what Kotek characterized as a ‘contentious political conversation on a tough day in my role as Speaker.’”

Read more on the Willamette Week article and the newly discovered emails related to the case: