Oregon House GOP Leader seeks documents in AG resignation

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May 11, 2010

SALEM, Oregon: Oregon State House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna on Thursday, May 6, 2010, called upon State Attorney General John Kroger "to release all documents relating to his former special counsel for environmental affairs," Brent Foster, who resigned on this past April.[1]

Foster, one of Attorney General John Kroger's top aides at the state's Department of Justice, relinquished his post after he, in his own words, failed to be entirely "honest with the attorney general regarding the fact that he took the samples" in a case involving the Hood River Juice plant. The former aide had collected "a water sample from a puddle near the plant that showed extraordinarily high pollution levels" that served as a major piece of evidence in the trial against the owner, David B. Ryan, who was arrested and charged with criminal conduct.[2] The defense, however, has raised serious questions about the sample after it was discovered that not only was there no custody seal, but that the water was collected in an unsterile bottle. Another point of contention is that it was not Foster, but rather water-quality specialist Rachael Pecore of the Columbia Riverkeeper environmental activist group who had been named in the affidavit justifying the search to take the sample. State Department of Justice memos state that Pecore didn't want to collect the sample and that she had lied about Foster being with her on the night of the search because "she did not want to get Mr. Foster in trouble."[2]

Deputy Attorney General Mary Williams, in a letter released on Thursday, May 6, states that while some evidence cannot be released at this moment due to attorney-client privilege, the rest, however, will be posted on the official Oregon Department of Justice website. Hanna says he is pursuing the matter because it raises serious "questions about Kroger's commitment to a positive business climate."[1]

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