After Willamette Week reported about shocking allegations of toxic working conditions in Oregon Democrat Governor Kate Brown’s economic development agency, including allegations that pregnant women and mothers were denied promotions, Brown promised an investigation.
As it turns out, that “investigation” will be subject to attorney-client privilege and likely shielded from public disclosure laws. This means that the public may never know what the investigation finds, and Brown could potentially bury findings that the public has a right to know.
The Oregonian reports,
Despite Brown’s and Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s pledges of greater public transparency, the investigation does not appear to be designed with that in mind.
The agreement specifically directs Perkins Coie to undertake “an attorney-client privileged investigation,” meaning the Justice Department or Business Oregon could try to exempt the findings from disclosure under public records law. It also says the law firm could be called on to provide legal advice to the DOJ, the governor’s office or the “benefitting agency” – Business Oregon.
Kate Brown has repeatedly claimed to be an advocate for transparency, but time and time again Brown has shown that her commitment to public disclosure is nothing more than a campaign slogan. The Oregonian put it best when they wrote, “Kate Brown’s commitment to transparency is no deeper than your average puddle.”