To her credit, Oregon Governor Kate Brown has publicly made ethics reform one of her top priorities. Yet, there have been many negative headlines and top staff resignations over conflict of interest issues. Even small issues mishandled can undermine credibility and create big problems for Governor Brown. Take for instance the news that Governor Brown created a controversy over what appears to be misuse of a State government credit card to pay for personal expenses. Brown later reimbursed the state. Brown managed to deflect this potential controversy during her election campaign at a time when the media and the public was having a debate on her role as Governor.
The public never knew about this information because the Governor’s Office delayed releasing the information. The request for public records regarding the Governor’s Office was made in July 2016, but the complete records were not made available until November 4th — nearly four months later (on a Friday before the weekend), and after hundreds of thousands of ballots in the Gubernatorial election had already been returned. If you follow the Governor you will notice that Kate Brown has been criticized for delaying public record requests from other organizations as well. It is becoming a pattern and it certainly does not fit a Governor who claims to support transparency in Government.
More on her delay at Oregon Capitol Watch here.