One lingering elections complaint remains unresolved from the recently-completed May primary.
In that complaint, Portland lawyer Patricia McGuire, alleges that Donna Maddux, a senior assistant attorney general in the Oregon Department of Justice's Medicaid Fraud unit, of sending out a political email during work hours from her Department of Justice email address.
"On May 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm, Donna Maddux of the Oregon Department of Justice sent the attached email to the Oregon Women Lawyers Listserv, in which she promoted the election of Sharon Meieran, a candidate for State Representative in HD 36 [Southwest Portland]," McGuire wrote to the Secretary of State's Elections Division on May 7. "That appears to be violation of ORS 260.432(2). The email is also misleading in that it may make the recipient believe that DOJ endorses Ms. Meieran, which I believe is in appropriate."
The law McGuire cites says in part:
"No public employee shall solicit any money, influence, service or other thing of value or otherwise promote or oppose any political committee or promote or oppose the nomination or election of a candidate, the gathering of signatures on an initiative, referendum or recall petition, the adoption of a measure or the recall of a public office holder while on the job during working hours."
The complaint is interesting not only because Maddux is a senior DOJ lawyer (prior to moving to the Medicaid fraud unit, she led the 2009 criminal investigation of Portland Mayor Sam Adams), but she has also served as a Tualatin City Councillor. She also considered running for attorney general last year.
In a May 18 written response to questions from an elections division investigator, Maddux acknowledged sending the email from her DOJ account during the middle of the day, but said she was on her lunch break at the time:
"I did the send the email attached to your inquiry, but I did not do so while I was on the job during work hours. After I was unable to send this email to the listserve from my home address (see #2 below) I checked the state issued ORS 260.432 Quick Reference - Restrictions on Political Campaigning by Public Employees, as I was aware that there were certain restrictions on what types of emails I could send," Maddux wrote. "After referring to that source, I concluded that I could send the email to the listserve outside of work hours. Therefore, I sent it during my lunch break. As you can see from the time stamp on the email, I sent the email at approximately 12:30 p.m."