Attorney General John Kroger today announced the hiring of a business advisor. Since the economy tanked, virtually every elected official has become an economic development officer—witness newly elected Metro Council President Tom Hughes heading overseas to scout for jobs. But Kroger's foray into the field may be the greatest example of mission creep to date (although he's clearly got business leaders on board, as his statement below indicates).

Justice Department spokesman Tony Green says Kroger has always long interested in the legal aspects of economic development, including facilitating technology transfer from Oregon's universities to for-profit entities. Green adds that the 2010 Legislature gave the Department of Justice permission to create the position but it has taken time to find the right person.

Here's the announcement of the new hire:

Attorney General John Kroger today announced the appointment of Fred Granum, a career business lawyer (inactive) and businessman, as Special Advisor to the Attorney General for Business. â€œOregon’s number one priority is to develop a more vibrant and diverse economy that creates good paying jobs,” said Attorney General Kroger.  “Fred Granum will help get us there.  I deeply appreciate his commitment to public service.” â€œIt’s an honor to be offered this unique opportunity to serve the people of Oregon, and I thank the Attorney General for the confidence he is placing in me,” said Granum. “I look forward to working with the leaders of Oregon’s businesses, both large and small, as well as the state’s legal and political leaders to take meaningful steps to enhance Oregon’s business climate.” â€œWe are very pleased that Fred Granum is joining the Attorney General’s’ office as the Special Advisor for Business,” Peter Koehler, Jr., Director of Global Legal Operations for Nike. “Fred brings a wealth and diversity of experience in the business community to this position which will serve the Attorney General, the business community and the State of Oregon well.” After graduating from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1981, Granum clerked for a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge and practiced law in Portland for nearly two decades, first as an associate at Dunn Carney Allen Higgins & Tongue, and  as a shareholder at the Portland offices of Garvey Schubert Barer and Bullivant Houser Bailey, P.C. In his extensive legal career, Granum represented troubled companies, creditors and bankruptcy trustees in connection with out-of-court workouts, corporate reorganization and liquidations. His practice also included the representation of emerging growth and established companies with issues related to corporate formation, financing, governance, and mergers and acquisitions.  Granum also sought the Republican nomination for Oregon Secretary of State in 2004.    Granum will work directly with Oregon businesses, the Governor’s office and the Attorney General to develop proposals to reform Oregon’s legal and regulatory system to improve Oregon’s business climate.  Granum will also conduct a survey of policies in other states to identify successful pro-business initiatives that might also work in Oregon.  His position will end in eighteen months, after the conclusion of this project.  â€œI am very pleased to see Attorney General Kroger bringing Fred Granum onto his team to deal with the business community and our issues,” said Ron Saxton, executive vice president of Klamath Falls-based window and door manufacturer Jeld-Wen. “Fred’s experience as both an attorney and business leader is impressive, and he will bring great value to the efforts of the Attorney General to improve Oregon as a place for business success, expansion and investment.” â€œFred Granum’s appointment, as Special Advisor to AG Kroger, is good news for business in Oregon,” Ryan Deckert, President, Oregon Business Association. “We now have an advocate in the Department of Justice.”  A former U.S. Army Field Artillery officer, Granum has extensive experience as an entrepreneur, investor and business executive. He is also a co-founder and executive of two Tualatin-based logistics companies, Co-Operations, Inc., and Hedges Creek Logistics, LLC.