Patricia McCaig, Gov. Kitzhaber's CRC Adviser, Faces Ethics Complaint

Patricia McCaig, Gov. John Kitzhaber's top adivser on the Columbia River Crossing is facing an ethics complaint for her work to push the project through the Oregon Legislature.

However, just who filed the complaint and what it says will remain confidential until the Oregon Government Ethics Commission completes a preliminary review, the agency's director says.

McCaig was the subject of WW's Feb. 27 cover story, detailing her moves to get lawmakers to approve the $3.4 billion project to replace Interstate 5's drawbridges, extend light rail to downtown Vancouver and expand interchanges.

WW found that McCaig spent spent 219 hours on legislative issues during the last quarter of 2012, although state law says anyone who spends more than 24 hours in three months attempting to influence legislation must register.

A violation of state ethics laws can bring a $5,000 fine. Ron Bersin, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission executive director, confirmed Thursday afternoon that a complaint had been filed, but couldn't say more.

"The agency and myself are prohibited from disclosing the details of the complaint until Preliminary Review is completed, by statute," Bersin writes in an email.

WW also reported yesterday that CRC critic and forensic accountant Tiffany Couch found McCaig may also not be registered as a business in the state of Washington and Vancouver, and may not be paying required taxes.

McCaig did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

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