Ethics Questions Loom Over Newly Sworn In Oregon Gov as Well

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New Oregon Governor Kate Brown, a Democrat who helped oust her predecessor, John Kitzhaber (D), ostensibly because of ethics concerns, has ethics problems as well. Brown, the first openly bisexual governor in the nation, is known for her ruthless pursuit of power.

According to the Washington Post, “As the top fundraiser for Senate Democrats, she enjoyed close relationships with powerful labor unions who helped her party take back the majority. But she angered some of her fellow members by whipping votes in favor of cuts to the public employee pension system — which she then opposed herself.”

After meeting with Kitzhaber last week, Secretary of State Brown released a statement in which she said that he had called her back from Washington, told her he would not resign, then launched into discussion of a possible transition. Having described his allegedly bipolar actions and completed her character assassination, she pushed him off the plank, concluding, “This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation.” Democrats then lined up to oust Kitzhaber, including Senate President Peter Courtney (D), House Speaker Tina Kotek (D), and state Treasurer Ted Wheeler (D).

Yet Brown does not have a spotless record either; in January, according to The Verge, Brown went to bat for Comcast in its attempt to take over Time Warner. But her letter supporting Comcast was essentially written for her by a Comcast Government Affairs specialist, who had spoken with Brown’s staff. The letter was sent to Brown, prewritten and bearing Brown’s typed sign-off, name, and title. Three sentences were altered or changed, and then Brown’s office sent it to the FCC, stamped with the official seal of the State of Oregon.

The ethics of the letter-writing become even more murky with this fact: since 2008, Comcast has donated almost $10,000 to Brown’s two campaigns for secretary of state.

When the Verge asked Brown for a comment, her communications director said she was too busy. Brown may not serve too long; a special election to fill the remainder of Kitzhaber’s term is scheduled for later this year.


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