Last week, WW reported that Portland lawyer Patricia McGuire had filed an elections complaint against Donna Maddux, a top lawyer at the Oregon Department of Justice, questioning Maddux's sending an election-related email from her state email address during the middle of a work day.
Yesterday, the elections division cleared Maddux with the following letter:
Dear Ms. Maddux:
The Elections Division received a complaint from Patricia McGuire alleging that you may have violated election law when you sent an email from your work email address regarding a candidate.
Statutory Background 260.432 (2) provides: 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 work hours. However this section does not restrict the right of a public employee to express personal political views.
Discussion and Analysis
In your response to our inquiry you indicated that you sent the email while you were on your lunch hour. This is consistent with the time stamp on the email. You also indicated that you attempted to send the email from your home email address but could only use the listserv with your work email address, and that you did not receive responses to the email at your work email address. The statute provides that public employees may not engage in political activity while on the job during work hours.
Because you were on a lunch break, you were not “on the job.” After a review of the information submitted the Elections Division has found insufficient evidence to indicate you violated ORS 260.432 in this instance. Elections Division Case No. 12-093 Page 2 Not finding a violation of election law, the Elections Division determines this investigation is closed and does not intend to pursue this matter further.
Sincerely, Alana J. Cox Compliance Specialist