Saturday, March 14, 2015

Did the US Attorney, the FBI and The Oregonian newspaper play a role in the re-election of now disgraced Governor Kitzhaber?

I found a recent article in the Oregon City News (a local newspaper) very interesting; although, I must say, not particularly surprising:  “Richardson Speaks out About Political Scandal.”

Dennis Richardson, a former Republican State Legislator, ran an uphill and subsequently unsuccessful bid to unseat the incumbent Governor John Kitzhaber.  Most of you are aware that shortly after Kitzhaber’s re-election he was forced to resign; and he is currently under investigation by the US Attorney’s Office and the FBI.

Richardson had, prior to the election, submitted a detailed letter (October 26th) to the US Attorney in Oregon setting forth very specific allegations against the Governor and his girlfriend, “fiancĂ©e,” Cylvia Hayes – citing unethical and possibly criminal conduct on the part of Kitzhaber and Hayes.

Richardson stated in the article:  “I hired a key Washington, DC, lawyer who had experience with federal investigations and prosecutions of elected officials to research and write the letter.”

Richardson said that he had no particular inside information, that the charges outlined were widely circulated in the media and through various public testimony.

Interestingly, the US Attorney Amanda Marshall (appointed by President Barrack Obama) and the FBI sat on the information until after the re-election of Kitzhaber.  Within a couple of weeks, the public clamor forced Kitzhaber to resign.  Immediately, the US Attorney and the FBI (to that point completely silent) jumped into the fray.  Furthermore, the charges ultimately set forth by the US Attorney’s Office closely resembled allegations included in Richardson’s October letter.

Yes, folks, everything is political – as we all know or I suppose should know.  Just as in this case delaying tactics, by the Feds, may very well have changed an election outcome and insured a Democratic hold the State.  Upon Kitzhaber’s resignation, Oregon’s Secretary of State (also a Democrat) ascended to the Governorship.

One other point, The Oregonian (Oregon’s principal daily newspaper), although certainly privy to all of the known information about Kitzhaber, nonetheless had their Editorial Board endorse Kitzhaber for re-election.  With the The Oregonian’s help, Kitzhaber won decisively.  Richardson was just SOL.

Was the fix in on this one?  I don’t know. The Oregonian’s editorial board has since apologized for their misdirected endorsement.  However, their apology sounds to me just a bit disingenuous.  Based on what they almost certainly knew, they could have just as well withheld any endorsement for Governor.  But they didn’t.  Ethics, for bigtime newspapers struggling to survive, has become a rather archaic concept.  No, I take that back.  Ethics is a concept that has rarely held sway in the newspaper business.  Those who believe otherwise – well, what can I say?

You might also be interested in reading this related post:

True Nelson