A forensic accountant and critic of the Columbia River Crossing says that Gov. John Kitzhaber’s top adviser on the project, Patricia McCaig, may not be paying required Washington state taxes.
Tiffany Couch says several CRC contractors aren't registered to do business in the state of Washington or the city of Vancouver, where the CRC’s offices are located. The state and city require businesses to register in order to pay taxes. Couch says McCaig and her company, McCaig Communications, is one of them.“We question how Ms. McCaig has been able to pay the requisite Washington State Business and Occupation taxes without a valid State of Washington (business) number,” Couch writes. “CRC documents clearly place Ms. McCaig in the State of Washington conducting business at least through February 2011; as such, payments to her would likely require payment of B & O taxes.”
The report, released March 1, came two days after WW published a cover story outlining McCaig’s work to get the Oregon Legislature to approve the $3.4 billion project to replace Interstate 5’s drawbridges, extend light rail to downtown Vancouver and expand interchanges.
McCaig has been paid more than $417,000 through the CRC’s top contractor, David Evans and Associates, while working as Kitzhaber’s adviser. WW found that McCaig is not registered as a lobbyist with the state of Oregon, even though in the last quarter of 2012, she spent 219 hours on legislative issues. State law says anyone who spends more than 24 hours in three months attempting to influence legislation must register.
WW sent McCaig Couch’s report for a response.
“I’m taking a few days off,” McCaig wrote in an email.