Michael Rodgers comes forward as Kitzhaber whistleblower

In a Willamette Week report, Rodgers admitted to leaking thousands of the former governor’s emails.

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In a Willamette Week report, Michael Rodgers admitted to leaking thousands of former governor John Kitzhaber’s emails.

He also told WW about John Kitzhaber’s efforts to have some emails deleted from state servers.

From the WW story published Wednesday:

More than three months later, Rodgers is still on paid leave. He must stay home during work hours. “It feels like I’m in jail,” he says. “I’m just missing the ankle bracelet.” This week, Rodgers decided to go public with a secret he can keep no longer: He was the person who told WW about the attempt to delete Kitzhaber’s emails. And he’s the one who leaked more than 6,000 of Kitzhaber’s emails to WW.

Rodgers has been under separate investigations by the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Justice. On May 6, a Marion County prosecutor told Rodgers’ attorney that if Rodgers didn’t give up his $143,000-a-year state job, he could be charged with a crime. Rodgers refused to quit. Some people think Rodgers violated Kitzhaber’s privacy and shirked his own responsibility to protect state data. Rodgers says he was simply trying to stop public records from being destroyed. And he wanted Oregonians to know that the emails the governor’s assistant sought to delete were relevant to the ongoing investigation of Kitzhaber and Hayes.

OregonLive.com also covered the unveiling of arguably the most prominent whistleblower in Oregon state political history:

Rodgers subsequently handed the newspaper a thumb drive of emails from a private Kitzhaber account that had been stored on state servers. State officials said the storage was inadvertent, mixed in with an effort to preserve Kitzhaber communications done on a separate email account created for public business.

Janet Hoffman, Kitzhaber’s criminal defense attorney, has asked a federal judge to block the state from reviewing the private emails or turning them over to the grand jury. The court proceedings in the matter are secret because they regard grand jury matters, so the status of Hoffman’s efforts couldn’t be immediately established. Hoffman in the past has declined to discuss the matter.

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