Congress AND the Feds Investigate Kitzhaber: Friday evening, hours after Democrat John Kitzhaber announced that he will resign effective February 18, the State of Oregon was hit with a double dose of federal problems.
First, as Willamette Week reported, the US Department of Justice has issued broad subpoenas for records pertaining to the Governor and First Lady:
The U.S. Department of Justice has filed criminal subpoenas with the state of Oregon seeking records related to outgoing Gov. John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes. The subpoenas seek all “information, records and documents, including data electronically or digitally stored on computer devices” relating to Kitzhaber, Hayes, 15 other people and 11 state agencies, including the governor’s office. Federal investigators are seeking records related to private consulting contracts Hayes obtained while she was serving as first lady and policy adviser to Kitzhaber over the past four years.The contracts paid Hayes more than $200,000.
The subpoenas, signed by U.S. Attorney for Oregon Amanda Marshall, were served on the Oregon Department of Administrative Services this afternoon, only hours after Kitzhaber announced his resignation.
Then, a letter from the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform surfaced, sent to Governor Kitzhaber just today. The Committee, chaired by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), demands a broad range of records regarding Oregon’s failed implementation of ObamaCare via the state based exchange known as Cover Oregon.
The full six page letter, retrieved from the Committee website, demands compliance by February 27. The full text is below, and is damning:
February 13, 2015
The Honorable John Kitzhaber
Governor of Oregon
Office of the Governor
900 Cou1t Street
Salem, OR 97301-4047
Dear Governor Kitzhaber:
The Committee is conducting oversight of the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and Oregon’s health insurance exchange, Cover Oregon. Cover Oregon was funded with $305 million in federal grants. According to an auditor the State hired to assess the development of the exchange, the project has suffered from problems .
In April 2014, the directors of Cover Oregon voted to abandon its exchange in favor of switching to HealthCare.gov. Cover Oregon ‘s top technology official explained that the switch was policy-driven. He stated: “Using the federal technology represents the lowest-risk option.” Subsequent reports, however, indicated that the decision to close Cover Oregon may have been based on politics, not policy, and campaign advisors working on your re-election campaign may have coordinated the State’s response to the Cover Oregon rollout. In fact, media rep01ts indicated campaign staff even edited the testimony of a witness who testified before the Committee about Cover Oregon on April 3, 2014. It has also come to our attention that an employee in the Governor’s office instructed State officials to remove e-mails from your personal account from State servers.
To ensure the integrity of records that may be relevant to this investigation, preserve all documents and communications related to the implementation of Cover Oregon. If it is the routine practice of any State employee or contractor to destroy or otherwise alter such records, halt that practice.
So the Committee can better understand the role of campaign advisers in decisions related to Cover Oregon, please produce the following documents and records to the Committee as soon as possible, but no later than February 27, 2015:
- All communications to or from any current or former employee of the Governor’s Office referring or relating to Cover Oregon, gov, or the PPACA, including, but not limited to, communications to or from:
The Honorable John Kitzhaber February 13, 2015
- a. any individual associated in any way with your re-election campaign, including but not limited to any employees, consultants, contractors or volunteers;
- b. any current or former Cover Oregon employee, including, but not limited to, the Chief Executive Officer and the members of the Board of Directors; and
- c. any current or former Oregon State employee, contractor, or
- All documents and communications referring or relating to meetings or phone calls regarding Cover Oregon, gov, or the PPACA, including, but not limited to, calendar appointments, meeting minutes, and notes.
When producing documents to the Committee, please deliver production sets to the Majority Staff in Room 2157 of the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff in Room 2471 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Committee prefers, if possible, to receive all documents in electronic format.
An attachment to this letter provides additional information about responding to the Committee’s request.
The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is the principal investigative committee in the
U.S. House of Representatives . Pursuant to House Rule X, the committee has authority to investigate “any matter” at “any time.”
If you have any questions about this request, please contact Sean Hayes of the Committee Staff at
(202) 225-5074 . Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Jason Chaffetz Chairman
Mark Meadows Chairman
Subcommittee on Government Operations
Subcommittee on Health Care,
Will Hurd Chairman
Subcommittee on Information Technology
cc: The Honorable Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member
Responding to Committee Document Requests
- In complying with this request, you are required to produce all responsive documents that are in your possession, custody, or control, whether held by you or your past or present agents, employees, and representatives acting on your You should also produce documents that you have a legal right to obtain, that you have a right to copy or to which you have access, as well as documents that you have placed in the temporary possession, custody, or control of any third party. Requested records, documents, data or information should not be destroyed, modified, removed, transferred or otherwise wade inaccessible to the Committee.
- In the event that any entity, organization or individual denoted in this request has been, or is also known by any other name than that herein denoted, the request shall be read also to include that alternative
- The Committee_’s preference is to receive documents in electronic form (e., CD, memory stick, or thumb drive) in lieu of paper productions.
- Documents produced in electronic format should also be organized, identified, and indexed
- Electronic document productions should be prepared according to the following standards:
- The production should consist of single page Tagged Image File (“TIF”), files accompanied by a Concordance-format load file, an Opticon reference file, and a file defining the fields and character lengths of the load
- Document numbers in the load file should match document Bates numbers and TIF file
- If the production is completed through a series of multiple partial productions, field names and file order in all load files should
- All electronic documents produced to the Committee should include the following fields of metadata specific to each document; Documents produced to the Committee should include an index describing the contents of the production. To the extent more than one CD, hard drive, memory stick, thumb drive, box or folder is produced, each CD, hard drive, memory stick, thumb drive, box or folder should contain an index describing its contents.
- Documents produced in response to this request shall be produced together with copies of file labels, dividers or identifying markers with which they were associated when the request was
- When you produce documents, you should identify the paragraph in the Committee’s schedule to which the documents
- It shall not be a basis for refusal to produce documents that any other person or entity also possesses non-identical or identical copies of the same
- If any of the requested information is only reasonably available in machine-readable form (such as on a computer server, hard drive, or computer backup tape), you should consult with the Committee staff to dete1mine the appropriate format in which to produce the
- If compliance with the request cannot be made in full by the specified return date, compliance shall be made to the extent possible by that An explanation of why full compliance is not possible shall be provided along with any partial production.
- In the event that a document is withheld on the basis of privilege, provide a privilege log containing the following information concerning any such document: (a) the privilege asse1ied; (b) the type of document; (c) the general subject matter; (d) the date, author and addressee; and (e) the relationship of the author and addressee to each
- If any document responsive to this request was, but no longer is, in your possession, custody, or control, identify the document (stating its date, author, subject and recipients) and explain the circumstances under which the document ceased to be inyour possession, custody, or
- Ifa date or other descriptive detail set forth in this request referring to a document is inaccurate, but the actual date or other descriptive detail is known to you or is otherwise apparent from the context of the request, you are required to produce all documents which would be responsive as if the date.or other descriptive detail were
- Unless otherwise specified, the time period covered by this request is from January 1, 2009 to the present.
- This request is continuing in nature and applies to any newly-discovered Any record, document, compilation of data or infonnation, not produced because it has not been located or discovered by the return date, shall be produced immediately upon subsequent location or discovery.
- All documents shall be Bates-stamped sequentially and produced
- Two sets of documents shall be delivered, one set to the Majority Staff and one set to the Minority Staff. When documents are produced to the Conm1ittee, production sets shall be delivered to the Majority Staff in Room 2157 of the Rayburn House Office Building and the Minority Staff in Room 2471 of the Rayburn House Office
- Upon completion of the document production, you should submit a written certification, signed by you or your counsel, stating that: (1) a diligent search has been completed of all documents in your possession, custody, or control which reasonably could contain responsive documents; and (2) all documents located during the search that are responsive have been produced to the
I . The term “document” means any written, recorded, or graphic matter of any nature whatsoever, regardless of how recorded, and whether original or copy, including, but not limited to, the following: memoranda, reports, expense reports, books, manuals, instructions, financial reports, working papers, records, notes, letters, notices, confirmations, telegrams, receipts, appraisals, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers , prospectuses , inter-office and intra office communications, electronic mail (e-mail), contracts, cables, notations of any type of conversation, telephone call, meeting or other communication, bulletins , printed matter, computer printouts, teletypes, invoices, transcripts, diaries, analyses, returns, summaries, minutes, bills, accounts, estimates, projections , comparisons, messages, correspondence, press releases, circulars, financial statements, reviews, opinions, offers, studies and investigations, questionnaires and surveys, and work sheets (and all drafts, preliminary versions, alterations, modifications, revisions, changes, and amendments of any of the foregoing, as well as any attachments or appendices thereto), and graphic or oral records or representations of any kind (including without limitation, photographs, charts, graphs, microfiche , microfilm, videotape, recordings and motion pictures), and electronic, mechanical, and electric records or representations of any kind (including, without limitation, tapes, cassettes, disks, and recordings) and other ·written, printed, typed, or other graphic or recorded matter of any kind or nature, however produced or reproduced , and whether preserved in writing, film, tape, disk, videotape or otherwise. A document bearing any notation not a part of the original text is to be considered a separate document. A draft or non-identical copy is a separate document within the meaning of this term.
- The term “communication”means each manner or means of disclosure or exchange of information, regardless of means utilized, whether oral, electronic, by document or otherwise, and whether in a meeting, by telephone, facsimile, email (desktop or mobile device), text message, instant message, MMS or SMS message, regular mail, telexes, releases, or otherwise.
- The terms “and” and “or” shall be construed broadly and either conjunctively or disjunctively to bring within the scope of this request any information which might otherwise be construed to be outside its scope. The singular includes plural number, and vice versa. The masculine includes the feminine and neuter genders.
- The terms “person” or “persons” mean natural persons, finns, partnerships , associations, corporations, substdiaries, divisions, departments, joint ventures, proprietorships , syndicates, or other legal, business or government entities, and all subsidiaries , affiliates, divisions, departments, branches , or other units
- The term “identify,” when used in a question about individuals, means to provide the following information: (a) the individual’s complete name and title; and (b) the individual’s business address and phone
- The term “referring or relating,” with respect to any given subject, means anything that constitutes, contains, embodies, reflects, identifies, states, refers to, deals with or is pe1iinent to that subject in any manner whatsoever.
- The term “employee” means agent, borrowed employee, casual employee, consultant, contractor, de facto employee, independent contractor, joint adventurer, loaned employee, part-time employee, permanent employee, provisional employee, subcontractor, or any other type of service provided