The scandal is exploding. For several months, information has dribbled out about how Oregon’s Department of Energy ignored the regulations regarding the resale of BETC tax credits. Now, in a Oregon GOP leaders have sent letters to Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, the state’s U.S. attorney, the FBI, the IRS and Marion County District Attorney Walter Beglau demanding a probe of allegations that employees at the Oregon Department of Energy and Department of Revenue violated state law on energy tax credits, engaged in favoritism and allowed some people to evade capital gains tax.
Governor Brown and AG Rosenblum have not responded.
But just a few hours ago, Democratic Senate Leader Peter Courtney and Democratic Speaker Tina Kotek demanded an “overhaul” of the Oregon Department of Energy.
Unlike the Cylvia Hayes scandals which involved a few hundred thousand dollars and a lot of personal ugliness, this new DOE scandal looks like it could involve tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidy’s to recoup bad investments from insiders or favored constituents as well as violations of the law by top government officials in the Department of Revenue and the Department of Energy.
Make no mistake. Mr. Courtney and Ms. Kotek were quick to get out of the way of this moving train. Something they were quick to do when the Kitzhaber scandal finally erupted as well.
There will be pressure to not make the names of the BETC tax credits public. There will be pressure in the February session to quickly amend the DOE rules regarding retroactive authorization of the illegal discounting of the BETC tax credits. There will be pressure to blame Kitzhaber alone.
The GOP needs to resist the urge to blame Kitzhaber and Hayes and focus on the crony capitalism that the Democrats engaged in. (Unfortunaetly, the GOP will be pressured by its own financial donor base to not go there. Since they also enjoyed the benefits of the BETC credits).
As pressure builds on the AG to investigate or if the District Attorney or Feds decide to investigate, how will the scandal be used by the Carbon Industry in it’s 2016 Ballot Measure that would terminate the Oregon Clean Fuels Program?