Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schrunk asked the state on Thursday to open an investigation into allegations against County Chair Diane Linn by a former Linn aide who said the chair directed her to falsify public records.
In a story reported Wednesday in WW, former Linn adviser Laura Bridges claims she was instructed to delete items from Linn's appointment calendar and add others to make it look like Linn was working more than she was after an Oregonian reporter requested her calendar in 2003.
The revelation, which was confirmed by Linn's former chief of staff Kathy Turner, came just days before ballots for the May 16 primary go out to voters.
In an Oregonian follow-up article on Thursday, Linn raised the specter of political collusion between the district attorney's office and the campaign of Ted Wheeler, Linn's opponent.
She accused Deputy District Attorney John Bradley, who was quoted by WW, of being a Wheeler supporter because a John Bradley was listed as a Wheeler donor. The Bradley who donated to Wheeler's campaign is not the deputy DA.
In a letter Thursday to Linn that said he is asking the state attorney general's office to investigate the Bridges charge, Schrunk flatly denied that allegation.
"The clear implication is that someone in my office is using his position in the District Attorney's office to influence a political race," Schrunk wrote. "This is something my office would never do and I would not tolerate it."
As Schrunk points out in the letter, WW spoke to Bradley in hypothetical terms and did not disclose Linn's identity.
"The allegations made by Willamette Week are serious and should be investigated," Schrunk wrote to Linn. "However, because as the Chair you have a voice in my budget and also because of the allegations you have made against one of my staff...I believe there would be the appearance of a conflict if this office kept the case."
Later in the day, Linn wrote a letter to Schrunk saying she had personally apologized to Bradley.
"I welcome an outside investigation into the allegations as it will take this entire matter out of the political arena," Linn wrote. "I am confident an investigation will consider the source, the motive and the timing of the allegations and will determine this episode is politically motivated."
Commissioner Maria Rojo de Steffey also wrote Schrunk an email of her own questioning whether the attorney general's office should conduct the investigation because Attorney General Hardy Myers is listed as a Linn endorser.
"I am concerned that Hardy Myers appears prominently on Diane Linn's support list on her website," Rojo de Steffey wrote. "Should this issue be referred to an outside district attorney that does not have any affiliation with the Chair?"
NOTE: This story published to the web on 4/27/2006
Read the letter at www.wweek.com/media/7490.doc