The House government oversight panel is demanding that Oregon and federal law-enforcement officials investigate illegal control of the state’s failed Obamacare exchange by the state’s disgraced Democratic former governor.
After $305 million of taxpayers’ funds were allocated, “the state-based-exchange never came to fruition and the money is gone,” said a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, from Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R.-Utah), the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“Our investigation shows Oregon State officials misused federal funds, and improperly commingled official and political resources for the purpose of enriching the political prospects of then-Oregon State Gov. John Kitzhaber,” Chaffetz wrote. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum was sent a similar letter.
The Oregon state-based exchange, dubbed “Cover Oregon,” was under construction for two years before it was euthanized without registering a single resident.
Kitzhaber’s team used back-channel and private emails to avoid public disclosure, the committee staff detailed in the 204-page report, “Cover Oregon: How mismanagement and political interference squandered $305 million federal taxpayers dollars.” Also, the Oregon officials repeatedly sent false reports to Health and Human Services and doctored up a phony website that they represented as a functioning “Cover Oregon” website.
Kitzhaber, a Democrat, was a legendary political figure in Oregon. A former emergency room physician. he was elected to his fourth term in 2014, despite bubbling scandals involving his consort Cylvia Hayes. Hayes functioned as an active member of the governor’s staff, as reports surfaced of her pot farm, her sham-marriage and state payments to her private consulting firm.Largely because of the spreading scandals, Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015.
The committee’s request is different from another federal investigation into the couple.
While the woman in his private life was making things difficult politically, the top woman in his public life, Chief of Staff Patricia McCraig, was working to make smooth his political path.
McCaig called herself the “Princess of Darkness” and it was she eventually cut the cord on Cover Oregon to protect her boss’ reelection campaign. McCaig then turned around and directed state officials to sue and blame begin the contractor, Oracle, for the $305 million mess.
The House committee spent one year investigating Cover Oregon and in addition to its report, it is turning over 170,000 pages of emails and other documentation.