Law Firm’s Bill for Legislative Investigation: $141,659

Stoel Rives probed Diego Hernandez’s complaint against Tina Kotek and also provided training.

That’s how much the Stoel Rives law firm billed the Legislature between February 2021 and October 2022. Some of the bill covers training, but most of it relates to the investigation of a complaint filed by Rep. Diego Hernandez (D-Portland) alleging retaliation by former House Speaker Tina Kotek (“Wheels of Justice,” WW, Oct. 5).

After interviewing just five witnesses in a probe that lasted more than 600 days, Stoel Rives issued a nine-page report in late September clearing Kotek, a finding upheld by the House Conduct Committee last month.

State Rep. Daniel Bonham (R-The Dalles) says the bill is excessive and tardy. “The state should dispute that bill,” Bonham says.

His co-chair, Rep. Tawna Sanchez (D-Portland), declined to offer an opinion on Stoel Rives’ bill. “A fair process requires thorough and detailed investigation,” Sanchez said in a statement. “If committee members have questions about the expenses, they’ll have an opportunity to get more details from investigators when the Joint Conduct Committee meets to accept the annual report.”

Stoel Rives did not respond to a request for comment.