Thursday, January 25, 2007

Another way to spell "conflict of interest"? G-O-P

We've established here at LO of late the disastrous mess that is Measure 37.

The Oregon Legislature is promising to wade into the Measure 37 imbroglio. To get the ball rolling, they've created the Special Joint Land Use Committee. The Committee's charge is to decide what, if anything, to do with Measure 37 and presumably take their recommendations to the full compliment of legislators.

The committee's apparent force to promote a hand's off approach to the law is Senator Larry George (R-Sherwood), former president of Oregonians In Action (OIA). OIA was the driving force behind the passage of Measure 37 in 2004.

While Larry George's role here is crystal, his seating on the committee has a problematic element to it. George has some obvious conflict of interest issues given that his parents have a whopper of a Measure 37 claim in Yamhill County.

A guy whose parents have a big ass financial stake on the committee deciding what to do with the law?

I'm not able to find a copy of the Oregon Senate rules online, but this would seem like the definition of "conflict of interest" to me.

Larry George isn't the only legislator who requires scrutiny on this matter. Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro) also has a parent with a Measure 37 claim (scroll down to claim #37CL0320). The claimant happens to be his father, former legislator Charles Starr (who ironically lost last Spring in the primary to Larry George).

On the House side, there's the constantly ethics-challenged House Minority Leader Wayne Scott (R-Canby). Scott and his wife Marlene have their own Measure 37 claim.

I've also located two claims that are so far a bit of a mystery. Two Washington County claims belong to a Marvin F. and Joann Winters (claim 37CL0104 and 37CL0105). I've been trying to determine if Marvin is the son of GOP State Senator Jackie Winters, but nobody (not even the people in Winters's office) seems to be able to verify it one way or the other.