June 26th, 2009 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, City Hall, CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Kroger on Adams: 'Ethical' and 'Political' Questions Still Unanswered


Once again today, members of the City Club of Portland declined to ask a high-profile speaker a single question about the biggest local news story of the year.

Attorney General John Kroger told the crowd at the Governor Hotel he'd taken pains to address his recently completed investigation of Mayor Sam Adams during his lunchtime talk for members of the civic group. He included the topic in his speech, he said, because the Adams-Breedlove affair and its fallout is "very important for the future of Portland."

But not one City Club member mentioned the Adams investigation during a question-and-answer session after the speech. Instead their topics ranged from the state budget to marijuana legalization — queries that seemed designed to show off the questioner's own knowledge rather than reveal any insight from the AG.

The spectacle was reminiscent of Adams' last appearance before City Club on Feb. 27. Adams was under investigation by the AG's office at the time and was at the center of a drama that had gripped City Hall for weeks. But City Club members asked Adams about everything except the Breedlove affair.

Kroger himself was not as cagey on the subject. During his speech today, he said the Adams case raised "significant" political and ethical questions that remain unresolved after his probe wrapped up early this week. After a five-month investigation, Kroger declined to pursue charges against Adams, saying there was not enough solid evidence that a crime occurred.

Kroger today defended that conclusion, saying others in his office who worked on the case unanimously agreed.

"The Adams case raised significant legal questions, significant ethical questions (and) significant political questions," Kroger told the crowd. "I am confident we have resolved those legal questions correctly. But it would be wrong for a prosecutor to try to solve those ethical or political questions. That is a job for the voters of the City of Portland."

Kroger said his decision was based on the evidence, rather than "politics" or "bias and hunches."

"Those are the values I bring to my job for the next three-and-a-half years as Attorney General," he said.

After his speech, WW asked Kroger whether he would sign a recall petition against Adams.

"I think one of the most important things we learned from the Bush administration is not to mix politics and prosecution," Kroger said. "I will not be taking any public position on the recall petition."
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