Since my first report on Governor Kitzhaber’s Governor’s Office Operating Fund (GOOF) bill that was passed by the Oregon Legislature in the 2012 Session, I have learned the following information:
- The GOOF was specifically requested by the Governor and that is why it was inserted into SB 1579, as part of the massive amendments to that bill that were added to it and voted on by both the Oregon Senate and House on March 5, 2012.
- The Legislative Budget Office expressed concerns to the governor’s Office about using donations for operating expenses, but the governor insisted on going forward with the GOOF.
- To protect the people of Oregon against the Governor misusing the GOOF, another bill, SB 5701, added a provision that limited the amount the governor could spend from the GOOF without specific approval from the Legislature or the Emergency Board to $1. This was the only way to create legislative control over the use of the GOOF contributions.
- Contributions to the GOOF are public records and are subject to disclosure. I have filed a public records request regarding this but no one seems to know at this time who is in charge of the GOOF.
One thing is certain. The GOOF is an open invitation from the Governor to everyone and every organization, public or private, to contribute money to the GOOF to obtain the Governor’s favor. There is no legitimate reason whatsoever why anyone, let alone a public agency, would give money to the Governor’s Office. The only reason would be to purchase influence.
If any public agency contributes money to the GOOF, it would it would be a clear breach of trust by the persons controlling that agency. All agencies are created to serve the people of Oregon, not to give money to the Governor. As indicate above, I have filed a public records request to see who has contributed money to the GOOF. When I find out, I will let you know.
I have also requested a summary of what the Governor’s Office paid in “operating expenses” last year. I will report on that and any other information I receive concerning the GOOF in later updates to this report.