Oregon Governor Kate Brown Tests The Limits of Policy and Politics

Oregon Governor Kate Brown Tests The Limits Of Policy and Politics

Is it legal in Oregon to use public funds for a political purpose? Not according to the governor’s own ethics policy. According to the governor’s own internal "political activities" policy, "employees are expressly prohibited from using any work time or any state resources to conduct political activities."
However, during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oregon taxpayers paid a heavy price for partisan presidential politics. As a pledged party superdelegate and endorser of Hillary Clinton, Governor Kate Brown and her entourage racked up $5,089 in bills at Hotel Sofitel, and $1,659 in additional hotel charges at The Wyndham hotel, parking, and car rentals. Another $3,633 in round-trip airfare and baggage fees was spent.
Oregon taxpayers were never reimbursed for the five-figure bill totaling $10,381. Since these charges were billed to state credit cards, the expenditures were hidden until our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com requested them via the Oregon open records laws.
To learn more, review the governor’s state calendar and credit card expenditures during July 2016 at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, click here.
Over the course of the last two years, we found that Kate Brown has a troubling pattern of mixing taxpayer funded trips and campaign fundraising events. Recently, at Forbes, we showcased taxpayer financed travel. On some taxpayer subsidized trips, the governor did one state event and up to 12 campaign events.
Last spring, we wrote about the governors practice of using state agency resources and employees to log and redact from disclosure the details of 500 campaign events on her official state calendar since 2015.
A troubling pattern is emerging: Gov. Kate Brown blurred the lines between state agency resources and campaign activities.

Note: All documents referenced in this piece were produced by the Oregon Office of Governor subject to the open records law.
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