Former Oregon public records advocate alleges ‘political interference’ from governor’s office

Ginger McCall, former Oregon public records advocate. (KPTV) 

SALEM, OR (KPTV) - The state’s first public records advocate recently resigned, claiming Gov. Kate Brown’s office was interfering with her job of increasing transparency and improving public records law.

Ginger McCall spoke with FOX 12 on Wednesday, saying the position was created to increase transparency, but the governor’s office got in the way of what she was hired to do.

McCall said some even suggested she was in the role to push their agenda.

McCall was appointed by Brown in 2017. When she was offered the job, McCall said she was told she’d work independently.

“After I took the job, I was subject to political interference by the general counsel and other staff in the governor’s office,” McCall told FOX 12.

McCall said she worked with a public records council to create more transparency at the Capitol, proposing reforms to public records law.

“One of the recommendations I made was to create penalties for non-compliant government bodies if there was undue delay in response to a public records request,” she said.

In a memo obtained by FOX 12, McCall writes of a meeting she had with Misha Isaak, who works as general counsel in the governor’s office, to discuss the report she’d written.

McCall claims Isaak told her he didn’t like her recommendation to penalize non-compliant lawmakers, which would later go on to become a new law in Oregon.

“He emphasized it was my job to represent the interest of the governor’s office on the public records advisory council, but that I was not supposed to disclose that to the council,” McCall said.

McCall said she felt that was dishonest.

In June, McCall claims in a memo that another Brown staffer told her she is to represent the governor’s interest.

“This was meant to be a transparency office, so there’s some real irony around the idea that the person who is serving in this position would then be secretly representing the interest of an elected official,” McCall said.

McCall resigned Monday. Brown released a statement Monday saying McCall’s allegations were a “surprise” and she agrees that the public records advocate should be “truly independent.”

"It appears this is a situation where staff were conflicted between the goals of serving the Governor and promoting the cause of transparency. Let me be clear, there should be no conflict," according to Brown's statement.

FOX 12 requested an interview with Brown on Wednesday regarding McCall’s allegations, but did not hear back.

Copyright 2019 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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(2) comments

seashellmac

LOL> Kate Brown would NEVER interfere!! ha ha ha.. Kate Brown, Flush her down!


Merlin

I can’t believe Kate would interfere.


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