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Richardson Campaign Slams Kitzhaber Over Cover Oregon Internal Report

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Dennis Richardson's campaign laid into Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Tuesday after news that an internal review of Cover Oregon by a private consultant described the operation as a shambles.

“New details in the Cover Oregon cover-up show that a written report on the failed health exchange was intentionally held up in order to prevent its scathing criticism of Governor Kitzhaber from becoming public,“ stated Richardson campaign spokesperson Meredith Glacken in a written release.

Cover Oregon officials originally asked that the report, produced by consultant Clyde Hamstreet not be presented in writing, but through an oral presentation, according to The Oregonian.

On Tuesday, an internal review was released to GoLocalPDX. The report states that Cover Oregon was financially ill-prepared to deal with the fact it had projected revenue of $10-$20 million a year, but had purchased software from Oracle costing $2 million a month.

Download the Full Presentation: Here

Download Draft of Written Report: Here

Oracle, Cover Oregon’s chief technology contractor, and the State of Oregon are currently suing one another over who was at fault for the now abandoned healthcare exchanges that cost roughly $250 million to build.

The report goes on to list the problems inside Cover Oregon that include “little accountability,” “inadequate or missing policies and procedures,” “weak financial controls,” “uncontrolled IT spending,” “poor budget practices,” and “piles of untouched work with no plans to address [them]."

Gov. Kitzhaber pulled the plug on Cover Oregon’s stand-alone healthcare exchange earlier in the year.

Cover Oregon spokeswoman Ariane Holm said Tuesday that Hamstreet was asked to give the report orally, but the majority of his findings had already been discussed publically, and that Cover Oregon managers preferred a live presentation with an opportunity to ask questions. Holm said Cover Oregon was not surpressing the draft of the written report, written today, but that the document was made available to the public in a reasonable time and maner.

"Cover Oregon has fulfilled nearly 150 public records requests with hundreds of documents that include a wide variety of criticism or opinion about our agency over the past year," Holm said. "We didn't hold this request any longer than it took for it to go through the appropriate legal review."

Kitzhaber is running for an unprecedented fourth term in office. His GOP rival, Richardson, was quick to pounce Tuesday after the findings were published.

Richardson's campaign stated that the Cover Oregon issues and the scandal swirling around Kitzhaber's fiancee Cylvia Hales were part of a pattern of "cronyism and corruption" in his administration.

“In the midst of a cover up of the first lady’s pay-to-play scandal, this newest attempt at a cover-up with Cover Oregon adds yet another layer to the cronyism and corruption that has marked Kitzhaber and his administration as a national embarrassment and branded it one of the most unethical in Oregon history,” Glacken stated.

When asked for comment, the Kitzhaber campaign had not responded by the time this piece was published.


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