By Associated Press • 

Governor proposes 3 bills on ethics, transparency

SALEM - Gov. Kate Brown unveiled plans Wednesday for three bills that she says would improve Oregon's ethics and transparency laws following the scandal that led her predecessor, John Kitzhaber, to resign.

Rather than pursuing immediate changes to public records laws, Brown wants the secretary of state to conduct an audit of how the law is applied across state government, setting up potential improvements she can make through executive order or legislation in the future.

Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins, who was sworn in Wednesday, already has the authority to conduct such an audit, but Brown wants lawmakers to pass a bill requiring it nonetheless. Her spokeswoman, Kristen Grainger, said it would “send a clear message to the people of Oregon that this is a priority.”

Brown also proposes beefing up laws surrounding the governor's partner or spouse. The proposals flow directly from the controversy that toppled Kitzhaber, whose fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, was accused of using the governor's office to land private consulting contracts.

One bill would explicitly define the governor's spouse as a public official, making that person subject to transparency and ethics laws. The spouse would have to file a statement of economic interest making public some of their income sources. The bill would say statewide elected officials, including the governor and his or her spouse, can't collect speaking fees, and would increase the penalty for “egregious cases” of officials using their office for private gain.

A third bill would strengthen the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. The governor would no longer appoint all seven members, and the commission would have less time to decide whether a complaint is worthy of an investigation.

Brown's office says there are more than 1 million documents subject to a federal subpoena in the investigation of Kitzhaber and Hayes, and officials are reviewing them.





Very good.

Don Dix

Pete Townsend and Roger Daltry said it best ......"Meet the new boss, same as the old boss". Salem wIll still be just as corrupt as it was 2 months ago! ..... "we won't get fooled again"!


Cylvia Hayes was never a spouse. Would the new ethics apply or not? Since Oregon knows nothing about the ethics of marriage, I suggest they get out of the marriage business entirely.


Please reconsider using the word "transparency" for the rest of the century. A capital idea until you are the one being scrutinized. Then it's circle the wagons. Nothing changes. People demand transparency of others, never themselves.

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