One-party rule in Oregon has left the state in scandal. From pulling the plug on the state’s version of ObamaCare because of political considerations (costing taxpayers $300 million) to the willingness of the political class to engage in crony capitalism with “green” billionaires like Tom Steyer, the state government is currently being combed over by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and Congress.
The scandals have a common thread — former Gov. John Kitzhaber and his political cronies. And now, we have a smoking gun in this scandal. A report from the Energy and Environment Legal Institute Report is titled: “Private Interests And Public Office: Coordination Between Governors, the Obama White House and the Tom Steyer – ‘Founded and Funded’ Network of Advocacy Groups to Advance the ‘Climate’ Agenda.” This report contains emails and other evidence of coordination in this scandal.
Kitzhaber was a former emergency room doctor who set out to “save American healthcare.” In other words, he wanted to nationalize it. For a while, he played the fawning media like a fiddle. The crown jewel in his experiment was the creation of Oregon’s Health Care Exchange, Cover Oregon. Flush with hundreds of millions in federal cash, the state set out to create a model exchange to prove to the world that government-run health care could work. It didn’t.
After running ads and promoting the site, contractors and tech experts pleaded with the governor and his staff to not “go live” with the exchange. It wasn’t ready. Following week after week of embarrassment by the failure to sign up one enrollee, the governor tasked his political team to oversee the project. With an election looming, they advised him to pull the plug and join the federal exchange — just to save their political bacon.
At the same time, Kitzhaber’s team got into bed with green billionaire Tom Steyer. Steyer has been spending his fortune over the past four years promoting every green energy scheme under the sun. From climate change legislation to a failed initiative in California that cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and promised to create thousands of jobs, Steyer has been on a losing streak. Despite spending close to $100 million in the 2014 elections, the vast majority of the candidates he backed lost.
Steyer has made no secret that he views involvement in green energy as a personal profit center. While plowing his millions into green energy groups, he subsequently was involved in green energy companies like Kilowatt Systems, LLC. Steyer is listed as a “manager” of the company which says on their website: “We were created to help [solar and energy efficiency] industry professionals make more sales. More financing options and more customers equal more profit. It’s that simple.” By the public electing politicians who were willing to use taxpayer dollars to push green energy schemes, Steyer gets richer. Kitzhaber was a nice target for the billionaire, and Oregon seemed like a nice potential profit center.
A new report by the Energy and Environment Legal Institute details how Kitzhaber’s team and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, an environmental activist who did “consulting work” promoting the climate agenda, worked closely with outside groups funded in part by Steyer to promote a taxpayer-dependent green energy project.
According to the Portland Oregonian, “(Dan) Carol is a former Democratic opposition researcher who worked on behalf of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.” Carol copied governors’ aides and contractors/consultants on emails, also including Steyer — “a billionaire spending $50 million of his own money to elect, among other things, senators who would push his issues” Steyer in fact prepared to go all-in on policy through his “NextGen Climate Action group [which] was reportedly ready to spend as much as $100 million or more in 2014.”
As the report shows, “A recent Oregon production of two former Kitzhaber aides’ work-related, private-account correspondence confirm that ‘Kitzhaber told his staff that new state energy policies should match those that special interests were paying his fiancée to promote.’ One damning directive from Kitzhaber, which contradicts previous denials, stated in blunt and pertinent part, ‘Cylvia needs to be advocating the same clean economy policy in her role as spokesperson/advocate for the Governor’s Office and her role as a Clean Economy fellow. There cannot be any daylight between them…. This is another reason why she needs a role in developing the (state) policy itself.’”
Once the cover was blown, Kitzhaber was forced to resign. The FBI is looking into the actions of Kitzhaber’s fiancee, his aides and their relationship with outside environmental groups looking to profit from the taxpayers. Congress is demanding documents regarding the Cover Oregon exchange scandal. These are dark days for the Evergreen State–but more critically, an important lesson on why there should be a separation between businesses and government.
One-party rule leads to corruption and scandal. It does not matter what party is in control; it seems like one party rule leads to corruption and self-dealing.
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