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Whitsett Votes to Create Stable, Independent Ethics Funding

Oregon State Capital Press Release 6/8/07

Salem, OR – Thanks to a proposal brought to the floor by Senate Republicans Friday, the state’s ethics oversight committee is on its way to independent funding. The proposal asks voters to approve a new, stable and independent funding mechanism for the Government Standards and Practices Commission (GSPC). The Senate adopted the Republican proposal as a rare, on-the-floor amendment to House Joint Resolution 14A. The proposal was approved unanimously, 30 to 0.

“Oregonians expect independent, stable funding for Oregon’s ethics watchdog,” said Whitsett. “This proposal is precisely the way to fund it.

The adopted amendment would place $14.5 million in an endowment fund next budget cycle. The fund would grow for perpetuity and give GSPC a permanent yearly budget of $600,000 that will adjust for inflation, and feed the ethic’s watchdog independent of legislative appropriations. The Governor’s 2007-09 budget recommends $500,000 for GSPC’s yearly budget. It is the GSPC’s mission to provide fair, independent and impartial administration of the state’s ethics law.

“This is a one time investments that guarantees the ethics oversight committee will never be dependent on the legislature for its existence,” said Whitsett.

By making a one-time investment to create an endowment for GSPC, future legislatures would be removed from the issue of funding and Oregonians would have certainty that GSPC will never again be dependent on the legislature for its existence.

“It is truly unfortunate that after unanimously supporting this proposal, the majority party then voted unanimously to refer it to the Joint Ways and Means Committee for the sole purpose of ensuring it dies there,” said Whitsett.”

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