Sources: Will new U.S. Attorney General pursue Kitzhaber?
Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier is hoping that the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general will reinvigorate two federal investigations related to former Democratic Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber.
One is the ongoing influence-peddling investigation that prompted Kitzhaber to resign in February 2015. The other is the congressionally requested investigation into the $305 million in federal funds wasted on the failed Cover Oregon health care website before Kitzhaber resigned.
"In a state governed by one party for 35 years — a party that has become dismissive of government transparency and accountability — public corruption has become a huge issue," Currier said. "We look forward to the proper role a well-led U.S. Department of Justice can play in restoring the public trust and bringing justice back to Oregon."
Democrats still losing
Democratic Oregon U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley is getting more than 15 minutes of fame as one of the leaders of the congressional opposition to President Donald Trump. In the past few weeks, Merkley has received national coverage for promising to filibuster any of Trump's U.S. Supreme Court nominees and speaking out on the U.S. Senate floor against all of the Cabinet appointees who have been considered.
That may play well to the party's base, but the media is beginning to notice that congressional Democrats actually haven't been able to stop Trump, so far. So far only one nominee, proposed Labor Secretary Andrew Puzder, has withdrawn. Politico magazine ran a piece on Jan. 19 titled, "Democrats in the Wilderness." Last week's issue of Time magazine had a cover story titled, "Do the Democrats Matter?" And the Albuquerque Journal ran an analysis on Feb. 9 headlined, "Can Democrats get used to all the losing that lies ahead?"
So far, the most effective opposition has come from the Democratic attorneys general in Washington and other states who have blocked Trump's immigration ban in the courts.
Trump can do no wrong?
Although he hasn't gotten much news coverage, Oregon Republican Party Chairman Bill Currier has been supporting President Donald Trump ever since he got elected.
In a series of email statements in recent weeks, Currier has praised the nomination of 10th U.S. Circuit Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Senate confirmations of Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general and Betsy DeVos as education secretary. He also praised the ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim nations before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked it.
Currier is, of course, in the minority in Oregon, a state that tilted heavily for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November 2016 general election. At the same time, Trump got more votes in Oregon than any Republican presidential candidate since 2004 and won 28 of the state's 36 counties.