Gov. Brown signs into law first ethics reform bill

The measure requires Secretary of State to assess how state agencies are handling information requests.

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Gov. Kate Brown fulfilled part of her promise for an overhaul of ethics in state government.

The measure she signed into law Monday mandates the Secretary of State to assess how state agencies are handling information requests. It is seen as a direct response to accusations at former Gov. John Kitzhaber and his staff being reluctant to release documents.

“In the aftermath of a major scandal that undermined the public’s trust in the state’s highest office, it’s my job that we move forward with integrity and transparency,” the governor said.

But Oregon House Republicans say the governor’s ethics measures don’t go far enough. They’ve introduced a separate set of ethics bills that appear to be headed nowhere in the Democratically-controlled legislature.


Brown’s other ethics bills are moving through the legislature.

Meanwhile, an internal report — received through a public information request — reveals claims that Kitzhaber’s whistleblower, Michael Rodgers, stands accused of misrepresentating the facts.

Rodgers has said he feared that emails concerning public business were going to be destroyed after a Kitzhaber aide on Feb. 5 sought to have them deleted from state archives. The Oregon Department of Justice report, however, claims that Rodgers at one point claimed to a personnel manager that [former DAS head Michael] Jordan – then the state’s administrative services director– directed him to follow through on the Kitzhaber aide’s wishes. According to the report, Rodgers later said that  Jordan never gave that command.

Jordan, who on March 5 announced he would resign from state service, recently took a job with the city of Portland. Jordan initiated the personnel investigation on Feb. 11. The state released only a seven-page summary of its findings and several supporting documents, showing that Jordan denied directing that emails be destroyed. There are no other indications that Rodgers ever accused Jordan of directing him to destroy emails. A Feb. 20 email sent by a fellow manager of Rodgers shows that he and other data warehouse managers were instead concerned that Jordan eventually would cave and allow public records to be destroyed.


Rodgers remains on paid administrative leave pending the findings of the investigation.


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