Centers

Government Ethics

Members

  • Atty. Gen. Hardy Myers, Chair
  • Lt. Debbi Baker
  • Chuck Bennett
  • Rep. Vicki Berger
  • Steve Bryant
  • Keith Garza
  • Sen. Betsy Johnson
  • John Junkin
  • Carla Kelley
  • Justice Hans Linde
  • Greg Mowe
  • Margaret Olney
  • Larry Rew
  • MardiLyn Saathoff
  • John Schoon

Advisors

  • Bruce Bishop
  • John DiLorenzo
  • Susan Grabe
  • Jim Green
  • Don Crabtree
  • Genoa Ingram
  • Jim Markee
  • Harvey Matthews
  • Andi Miller
  • Mike McCauley
  • Lee Peterson
  • Paul Snider
  • Janice Thompson

Interested Participants

  • David Buchanan
  • Liz Frenkiel
  • Ginny Lang
  • Frank Nelson
  • Joe O'Leary
  • Phil Schradle
  • Grover Simmons
  • Marjorie Taylor

Staff

  • David Kenagy, Oregon Law Commission
  • Wendy Johnson, Oregon Law Commission
  • Samuel Sears, Staff Attorney, Oregon Law Commission
  • Gerald G. Watson, Staff Attorney, Oregon Law Commission
  • Lisa Ehlers, Oregon Law Commission
  • Ted Reutlinger, Senior Deputy Legislative Counsel

Current Activities

Oregon's government ethics laws are very broad, covering all state and local government elected and unelected officials, employees, officers, and volunteers. The laws have not been reviewed comprehensively since their passages by the voters in 1974.

In November 2003, after vetoing HB 3328, a bill concerned with government ethics, Governor Kulongoski requested that the Oregon Law Commission "review Oregon's government ethics laws in ORS Chapter 244" (the 'Code of Ethics') and "prepare a comprehensive revision for recommendation to the next regular legislative session". Link: Letter from Governor Kulongoski. The Oregon Law Commission accepted the charge, with certain conditions, notably that its work would be completed for the 2007 legislative session. The Commission, acting upon staff recommendations, directed the staff to conduct an extensive comparative analysis of state major substantive issues concerning government ethics and to prepare a detailed report of its findings to the Commission. The Staff Report was presented to the Oregon Law Commission on January 18, 2005. During the 2005 Legislative session, based upon continuing concerns about government ethics issues, the Legislative Assembly designated additional funding of the Oregon Law Commission for the specific purpose of conducting an even more comprehensive ethics review and preparing recommended legislation. This expanded charge calls for the Oregon Law Commission to also consider related issues involving lobbying, campaign finance, and funding the administration of Oregon's government ethics laws.

In November 2005, Oregon Law Commission Chair Lane Shetterly and Oregon Law Commissioner Attorney General Hardy Myers announced the appointment of members and advisors to the Law Commission Government Ethics Work Group. The work group will be chaired by Myers. Membership of the work group includes expertise from all levels of government and the business community. In addition, the Commission appointed 12 advisors with specific expertise in government ethics to assist the work group.

Over the next year, the work group will meet regularly to review Oregon's government ethics law, including providing opportunities for public testimony. The first meeting was held November 22, 2005 from 2:004:30 p.m. in the Oregon State Capitol. The work group will make recommendations for law improvement to the 2007 Legislative Assembly.

"Lobbying of government officials looks quite different today than it did 30 years ago. Cellular phones, pagers, and frequent flyer miles did not exist when Oregon's laws were written," said Senator Kate Brown, Senate majority leader and vice-chair of the Oregon Law Commission. "A comprehensive review is necessary and long overdue."

The work group will review ethics laws related to receiving financial gain, which includes gifts, honoraria and subsequent employment; restrictions on and reporting of conflicts of interest; and the structures and processes for administration and enforcement of government ethics laws, including penalties and remedies for ethics violations.

In addition, the work group will give attention to lobbying and campaign finance laws to the extent that standards for lobbying and the use of campaign contributions relate to the ethical conduct of state and local government officials.

Memos & Legislative Drafts

Legislative Drafts

Government Ethics Standards Sub-Work Group #1

Administration of Government Ethics Sub-Work Group #2

  • Organization; Structure; Rulemaking; Advisory Opinions: LC 592 (PDF) & MEMO (PDF)
  • Adjudication Procedures; Education and Training: LC 1084 (PDF) & MEMO (PDF)
  • Reporting Requirements: LC 1215 (PDF) & MEMO (PDF)
  • Funding: LC 1227 (PDF) & MEMO (DOC)
  • Sanctions: LC 1228 (PDF) & MEMO (PDF)
  • Legal Expense Trust Fund: LC 1726 (PDF)
  • Remedies: LC 1999 (PDF)

House & Senate Bills

  • Subsequent Employment (LC 1083): HB 2594 (PDF)
  • Sanctions, Remedies (LC 592, 1989, 1228, 1999):HB 2595 (PDF)
  • Adjudication Process, Legal Defense Fund (LC 1084, 1727): HB 2596 (PDF)
  • Campaign Contribution Use (LC 186): HB 2597 (PDF)
  • Gifts, Honoraria, Financial Gain (LC 1137): HB 2598 (PDF)
  • Conflicts (LC 593): SB 494 (PDF)
  • Nepotism (LC 1138): SB 495 (PDF)
  • Lobbying Reporting (LC 1225, 1215): SB 496 (PDF)
  • Public Official Reporting Requirements (LC 1226, 1215): SB 497 (PDF)
  • Prejudgment Bias Disqualification (LC 591): SB 498 (PDF)

Documents Concerning Government Ethics in Oregon

Selected Ethics Organizations & Websites

A number of organizations either deal specifically with governmental and legislative ethical issues. Most of these organizations maintain websites. The most relevant of those organizations include:

Additional Materials of Interest

National Conference of State Legislatures, The State of State Legislative Ethics. 2002. Monograph. Extensive comparative analysis of state ethics laws, particularly legislative ethics.

Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL), A Model Law for Campaign Finance, Ethics, and Lobbying Regulation. 1995. A detailed Model Act in statutory form, containing explanatory comments throughout the text.

Alan Rosenthal, Drawing the Line: legislative Ethics in the States. Lincoln, Neb.: University of Nebraska Press, 1996.