Rep. Richardson’s Newsletter
February 14, 2014
Federal GAO Audit
Requested for Cover Oregon
In last week’s newsletter, “The Cover Oregon Cover-Up”, I reviewed why Oregon citizens would never fully uncover the fraud, waste and abuse that permeates the Cover Oregon fiasco without an independent federal Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit.
I offered a petition (click here) to those who agreed and nearly 5,000 Oregonians joined me in petitioning for the GAO audit.
This week, four powerful Congressional Representatives–Greg Walden (R-Oregon), Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Joe Pitts (R-Penn.), and Tim Murphy (R, Penn.)–heard the united voices of 5,000 Oregonians and sent a letter to the Comptroller General of the United States requesting a GAO audit of Cover Oregon.
This request is timely since KATU (Portland Channel 2) now reports that Governor Kitzhaber’s Information Technology Director on the project, Carolyn Lawson, may have misled the federal government in order to secure additional funds for the project. The KATU Report states that on February 21, 2013 Lawson indicated that a “SOS [Secretary of State] audit found everything in order” relating to Cover Oregon. Yet, when KATU requested a copy of the SOS audit, the Secretary of State denied that such an audit had ever been performed. Carolyn Lawson, who has resigned from her Oregon I.T. position and moved back to California, has some serious explaining to do.
More than $304 million in federal grants have been allocated to the Cover Oregon project. At last count, approximately $170 million had been spent and the “burn rate” continues at an undisclosed level. As Congressman Walden stated at a news conference announcing the request for a GAO audit, Oregon’s “taxpayers deserve accountability for the failure of Cover Oregon.”
For additional information on the uncovering of Cover Oregon and the request for the independent federal GAO audit, you can watch the following February 13, 2014 Walden and Richardson press conference conducted at the Congressman’s Medford office. Click here for a link to video of that press conference.
Although here in the State Capitol several of my colleagues in the Legislature have been working for greater accountability and positive reforms relating to Cover Oregon, those proposals have been blocked for political reasons.(Click here) Thus, the only sure way to get to the bottom of the Cover Oregon failure is for the federal GAO audit requested by Congressman Walden to take place. We must learn from the fraud, waste and abuse that permeate Cover Oregon so that a future $300 million fiasco can be avoided.