Kitzhaber’s Flaccid Management Style Saw Him Hand Off His Biggest Governmental Boners to a Campaign Aid In Yet Another Ethical Breach

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Kitzhaber’s work wife and fake wife plundered his office. Worse? He was only to happy to let them loose on Oregonians — and their moth-filled wallets — as long as no one bothered him with details.

Image Credit: Daily Astorian
Image Credit: Daily Astorian

It’s hard when you discover the ‘cool’ guy you voted for was actually an egotistical, hair sprayed airhead.

Oregonians should have taken John Kitzhaber at his word when he uttered his Nixonesque ‘Oregon is ungovernable’ you won’t have him to kick around anymore epithet in  2002.

They should have believed the pundits who said ‘It’s the governor, stupid’.

Instead, voters let the perpetually affected, detached and bored executive back into office, whereupon he turned everything over to his unelected wives and handlers

The emails the ex governor tried to destroy, but which were obtained by Willamette Week, show Kitzhaber turned over two of his biggest projects — and biggest failures — to his campaign chief, who ran Oregon’s business in the Columbia River Crossing and Cover Oregon to the benefit of exactly one person: her client, candidate John Kitzhaber. 

This may come as a surprise, but that’s a Bozo-No-No.

Willamette Week still felt impelled to spell that out for the Van-Down-By-the-River/Occupy crowd:

If they made decisions based on Kitzhaber’s personal political interests rather than what was best for taxpayers, that’s not right,” says David Friedman, an associate professor at the Willamette University College of Law. “It just looks bad.”

When she wasn’t working for the company managing the disastrous light rail program laughingly called Columbia River Crossing, campaign aid Patricia McCaig, Willamette Week reports she was paid to ‘manage’ the program for the Governor.

Then, because apparently she’d done such a *great* job with the CRC, Kitzhaber put McCaig in charge of the quickly circling-the -drain Cover Oregon plan.

McCaig saw her plan of action clearly. She didn’t want to save the OrBamaCare program, she wanted to save the Governor. 

According to the emails in Willamette Week, McCaig quickly saw an off ramp. She manufactured a meeting where the preordained demise of the program would be pronounced and then, aha! she’d orchestrate a lawsuit against Oracle. She even bragged about it to the boss, who called her his ‘princess’:

The emails also show McCaig orchestrated the state’s legal strategy against Oracle. Polling showed voters blamed the governor for Cover Oregon’s failure. McCaig wanted Kitzhaber to demand money back from Oracle.

“We need to start the discussion from a different place,” McCaig wrote to Kitzhaber on April 7, 2014. “Mike [Bonetto] and I talked offline about Oracle—we’re leaning, regardless of which option, of announcing we’re going ‘after’ them.”

McCaig added in a May 19, 2014, email to Kitzhaber: “We need to show the taxpayers that we are going after the money. It doesn’t really matter if it is $200 million or $40 million, or how many people enrolled, until we make it clear that we’re going after the money.”

By mid-June, McCaig told Kitzhaber their Cover Oregon media strategy was working.

She was thrilled when the media lost interest in the story and didn’t bother to do their jobs anymore.

“Quite a week,” she wrote to him on June 13, “it wasn’t all about Cover Oregon. (FYI—no cameras at [Cover Oregon] board meeting and only 2 reporters, that’s great progress).”

And finally, the woman who had been doing the work of Oregon citizens, but was really a campaign aparatchik, got the word she needed from the man in office. He wrote this message to Patricia McCaig after a trip to the Pendleton Round Up where folks there can tell the real stuff from shinola:

No cheering crowds (but, then again, only one hiss), more horse shit that you can possibly imagine, highly efficient [fundraising] call time,” Kitzhaber wrote. “I can pay you now…really.”

 ‘I can pay you now’?

I’ll take a double order of conflict of interest, please. 

Go read the rest at Willamette Week, but I leave you with three comments on the WW’s story that tell the story of the learning curve of Oregon voters and show you the truth was always out there — you just had to find it for yourself:

Harley Leiber

Bringing McCaig on to smoke screen Cover Oregon to get re-elected was a slime bag move made by a desperate candidate hell bent on covering up the 3rd term dents to get to the “unprecedented 4th term.” Especially since she had no healthcare experience. That makes it 10 times worse.

kick box kitty

This is completely outrageous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And Kitz was so happy to turn the whole thing over to her — because he had already screwed it up and didn’t know what to do next and had no time to work on it because he had to rush off to Bhutan or some other place other than his actual JOB

Why did it take so long to see Kitzhaber was inept? PERS, the Columbia River Bridge, CoverOregon and those goofy commercials? It’s why so many that are not liberal just shook their heads at his third and fourth terms.

Remember when John Kitzhaber

1) Faked heart attack when state was flooded in 1996 and Vera was filling sandbags

2) Said health care should have been reformed on state level rather than
federal after being feted regularly by “The Economist” for medical
rationing

3) Vetoed Secondary Lands bill in Washington Park in 1995. Governor threw
tantrum in front of WW II veterans and stormed off – later told press
he doesn’t “do public” well

4) Rip-rapped his own Neskowin beach house when others couldn’t protect their homes
5) Built on his 10 acres on Umpqua River when land was zoned Exclusive Forest use

6) Vetoed a record 100 bills in 1997 Oregon legislature
7) Refused to do interviews with media other than liberal media – even
though he said he changed for this latest campaign — really?
8) Fleeing scene of Biscuit Fire five minutes before President Bush arrives, and leaving Sen. Wyden alone and furious
9) Unable to get along with legislative leaders – including Secretary of State of his own party, Phil Keisling

10) Refused to attend National Governors Association meetings, which at the time included innovative governors such as Jeb Bush, Tommy Thompson, John Engler, Bill Weld. Why? Because Kitzhaber already had the answers

11) Went fishing after 9/11 for a week when country was in crisis
12) Wanted to tear down dams on Snake River and freaked out then-Washington Gov. Gary Locke

Yes, some of us do.

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2 thoughts on “Kitzhaber’s Flaccid Management Style Saw Him Hand Off His Biggest Governmental Boners to a Campaign Aid In Yet Another Ethical Breach

  1. Hi Victoria,

    As I recall, Patricia McCaig was nicknamed the “Wicked Witch of the West” in early and mid nineteen nineties when working in State government. One would have thought that anyone capable of flying a broom would have been well versed in FAA height restrictions impacting PDX and Pearson airports during her later private position with the CRC. But such a supposition became a $250MM dollar oversight.

    And later her nickname became Lady Macbeth, describing her own ethically challenged duel role as a Kitzhaber policy adviser while simultaneously working for an outside private employer on Columbia River Crossing. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Plotting the policy of government, while at the same time profiting from an outside consulting enterprise seems a recurring theme associated the former Governor’s advocates. But be assured there was no ethics violation there??! Nothing to see, so just move along??! Yeah, right!

    And after all who was best able to serve, protect and more accurately provide a smokescreen for the Governor’s incompetent oversight on Cover Oregon than Ms. McCaig. Descending from the “heavens” to rescue taxpayer funds seems mystical, almost supernatural, yet was it really her immaculate intent or simply her witchcraft intent upon casting a spell to protect her favorite political operative while insuring her own personal gain?

    1. Pete,
      The latter >>> “intent upon casting a spell to protect her favorite political operative while insuring her own personal gain”.
      She doesn’t care about Oregon. The ‘state’ wasn’t her client, Kitzhaber was.

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