Oregon law requires Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to investigative public corruption.
The law says the AG "shall…investigate allegations of corruption or malfeasance by public officials in Oregon and, where appropriate, coordinate, cooperate and assist in taking legal action.â
In legal terms, the word "shall" means "must."
Rosenblum's predecessor, former AG John Kroger, took that law seriously. In 2010, for instance, Kroger launched a criminal investigation of the Oregon Department of Energy, spending months trying to get to the bottom of how the agency directed a $60,000 subcontract funded by federal stimulus money to a company run by Cylvia Hayes.
Rosenblum, however, has sat on her hands for the last four months as far more consequential allegations of influence-peddling and the misuse of public office have piled up around a fellow Democrat, Gov. John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes. (Disclosure: Rosenblum is married to WW publisher and co-owner Richard Meeker.)
On Tuesday, Rosenblum declined to answer WW's questions as to why she isn't following the law. All she would say is that she was not investigating the matter. In Wednesday's paper, WW highlighted Rosenblum's failure to investigate.
Rosenblum still hasn't answered WW's questions, but her position seems to be shifting.
For the first time, she expressed an opinion Thursday about the controversy, doing so in a statement released to The Oregonian.
allegations relating to Governor Kitzhaber and Ms. Hayes are very serious --
and troubling. My office is considering all of our legal options to ensure
that we are best serving the state."
The fact Rosenblum is now considering "legal options" shows the AG may move forward on the case.
But she's not in any hurry.
Pressed again on Friday morning as to whether she will follow the law requiring her to investigate, Rosenblum provided no new information.
"The Attorney General does not have any additional comment at this time," her spokeswoman, Kristina Edmunson wrote in an email to WW.