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Friday, September 29, 2023
Sept. 29, 2023

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Oregon governor: Agency leaders used jobs for personal gain


SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek on Wednesday asked the board of commissioners of the state’s marijuana and alcohol regulating authority to remove its executive director and other leaders, alleging they “abused their position for personal gain.”

“This behavior is wholly unacceptable. I will not tolerate wrongful violations of our government ethics laws,” Kotek said in her letter to the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission’s board of commissioners.

After taking office last month, Kotek, a Democrat who was a long-serving Oregon House speaker, asked for the resignation of OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks. The board of commissioners is appointed by the governor and in turn selects the executive director, according to an OLCC spokesman.

Kotek said an OLCC internal review had disclosed ethics violations, but she did not detail them in her letter.

Spokesmen at the agency, which is the state’s third-largest revenue generator, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Marks and details on the internal report.

In her letter, Kotek said OLCC leaders had admitted abusing their positions during the internal review. Kotek asked Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to conduct an independent civil investigation into the extent of any wrongdoing and recommend stronger protocols for ensuring ethics laws are followed.