Gov. Kate Brown: Can she #betransparent?
Kate Brown, the first openly bi-sexual demorat governor of Oregon, is up for re-election this November. She claims she “has already done more to improve transparency in state government than any other governor in Oregon’s history.”
Let’s take a look at her record, shall we?
According to a report from Forbes earlier this year, their audit of Gov. Brown revealed nearly 4,000 redacted items from her official state calendar. The governor redacted calendar entries on nine out of every ten days since taking office. In addition to these transparency issues, we found potential violations of Oregon state law regarding Brown’s credit card spending.
More from their report:
“The governor is flouting Oregon open records laws and blurring the line between the taxpayer-funded agency resources and her campaign activities. Furthermore, Brown used public funds for private purposes – during her time as secretary of state and as governor.
Now we’ve discovered systemic redactions from Brown’s calendar. Through Brown’s first 1,156 days as governor (February 2015 through April 2018), 994 days on her official calendar included redacted information. There are up to 14 line-item redactions per day.
Oregon State Law (ORS 192.355 Section 2a) allows redactions for information of a “personal nature” (i.e. doctor’s appointments). But in Brown’s calendar, there were nearly 4,000 items redacted, including names of people Brown met with, travel locations, campaign events, and even entire calendar days.
Brown’s calendar was packed with 500 events tagged as “campaign,” with further details redacted. When we asked the governor for comment, spokesperson Chris Pair cited a circuit court case – not a completely settled law – arguing the public has no right to know.”
Read their whole story here.
Guess what else Gov. Brown has done to improve transparency in state government? According to Oregon Live, she and the state agencies she oversees have kept proposed bills confidential while legislative lawyers draft legislation.
This is significant because how the state plans to pay for her policies in 2019, if re-elected, is not being made available to the voting citizens of her state before the November election. Fortunately, a judge in Marion County ordered that she release approximately 250 draft proposed bills by Friday.
More details from Oregon Live:
“Sarah Weston, a lawyer for the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, said the state plans to ask the Oregon Court of Appeals to halt the records release and reverse the Marion County court’s decision.
“The request forms are fundamentally a communication between the client and the client’s lawyer,” Weston said. She cited a statute that says legislative lawyers may draft bills requested by agencies, if the governor signs off on them.
In previous years, Portland business attorney Greg Chaimov – himself a former legislative lawyer – had asked for the agencies’ bill request forms and obtained them relatively quickly, according to his lawyer John DiLorenzo. The firm where Chaimov and DiLorenzo work, Davis Wright Tremaine, shares the information with its clients and friends free of charge, DiLorenzo said. Those entities often want to see what state officials are proposing so they can lobby against bills they dislike. In response to a reporter’s question, DiLorenzo confirmed that one of Chaimov’s clients is the business-allied political nonprofit Priority Oregon, which has been running attacks ads against Brown.
This year, the governor’s office told Chaimov he would have to deal with the Department of Administrative Services, and that agency said it would not release the records because they were protected by attorney-client privilege.
The administrative department had also informed other state agencies in May that legislative concepts would “be temporally exempt from disclosure [under the Public Records Law] until Legislative Counsel has submitted bill drafts to the Governor’s Office for final approval (this should be done by November 30, 2018),” DiLorenzo wrote in a court filing. He noted that would be well after the election.
“Although it is expected that agencies will have discussed legislative concept ideas with stakeholders, agencies are directed to treat this document as confidential and privileged and, accordingly, not to share the text of this form outside of state government before legislation is drafted and finalized,” the department wrote, according to a court record.”
Read the whole story here.
Prove that you are all for “transparency” Gov. Brown: Release the proposed bills before the November election. If you are so confident of your plans and policies, you should be quite proud to let the citizens of Oregon know how you plan to spend their hard-earned tax dollars!
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