With the state’s ethics commission investigating the governor’s personal financial ties to an oil and gas company, Oregon has become a battleground for ethics and transparency advocates.
The governor has defended his decision to continue working for the company while it is facing investigations.
He told a Salem, Oregon, newspaper, “I did not resign to make money.
It was a decision I made as governor.
I thought it was a wise decision, and I regret it.
It has not affected my public life or my personal life, and it hasn’t impacted the people of Oregon.”
The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that the governor also told the newspaper, “…
I have no conflicts of interest with the state government.”
He said in a statement to the Oregonian that he “would like to apologize for my actions as governor and to assure all Oregonians that I will be taking all appropriate steps to address any ethical issues with my administration.”
The ethics commission has been investigating the oil and natural gas company since it was first revealed in May.
According to the Associated Press, the Oregon Health Authority found that the health care company had a conflict of interest in approving a $4.6 million contract in 2016 with the health agency.
The Oregon Health Department also said in March that it was looking into whether the governor knew of the health department’s conflict of interests before he signed the contract.
The Oregonian reported that ethics commission officials interviewed more than 20 people about their interactions with the governor.
One of those who said they had been in contact with the office of the governor was former state Rep. Chris Petersen, a Republican who was the chair of the ethics commission.
Petersen was the only member of the commission to be subpoenaed by the ethics panel.
The AP also reported that in response to a public records request from the Oregon Public Broadcasting station, Petersen sent an email in March to staff and asked for more information.
The ethics commission will investigate Petersen’s actions in the case.
In an email to the AP, Petersen said he has “nothing to hide and nothing to fear.”
He said he will cooperate with the investigation and “will fully cooperate with all relevant investigative bodies and agencies in this matter.”