Oregon Gov. Brown owes public more transparency in ethics issues

Two of Gov. Kate Brown’s top staffers stepped down last week following news reports that employment they held outside of her office could compromise their work for the government.

The governor’s spokespeople argued the assertions were baseless as the story played out. And since the resignations were confirmed, they haven’t acknowledged what might have been learned. What’s so dismaying is how familiar it feels.

Willamette Week had raised potential conflict-of-interest questions about Kristen Leonard, Brown’s chief of staff, and Abby Tibbs, her deputy chief of staff. A main issue for Leonard, who had served in the role since late 2015, centered on a software company she owns with her husband that has a $214,000 contract with the state to provide agencies with a tool to track legislative bills.

Tibbs, who joined the office full-time in December, had been overseeing budget work for Brown since October while on leave from her job as a lobbyist for Oregon Health and Science University.

Both Leonard and Tibbs resigned this week and Brown’s spokesman has said the departures weren’t related to the recent press reports. Continue…