Rep. Knute Buehler is the Republican representative to the Oregon State Legislature from Bend (HD 54). The Democratic Party of Oregon recently filed an ethics complaint against Buehler and is asking us to support this suit by sharing the story on Facebook.
Following is their explanation and the link to share.
Here are the highlights:
- Rep. Buehler’s failed to disclose nearly $100,000 on his 2014, 2015 and 2016 Statements of Economic Interest required of public officials in Oregon in payments he has received from Stryker Corporation, a medical device company that is a contractor with the State of Oregon and has legislative interests in the state.
- Rep. Buehler is also a paid member of the Board of Directors of St. Charles Health System in Bend and failed to report $12,500 he received in personal payments in 2013. St. Charles contracts with the state, and Buehler will be crafting and voting on legislation that affects St. Charles.
“Rep. Buehler has made a public point of expressing concern about pay to play politics in Oregon, but his own actions appear to violate state ethics laws and deserve a full investigation.” said State Party Chair Jeanne Atkins.
Buehler attempted to brush off the allegations, suggesting through a surrogate the payments went to one of his companies, rather than him personally, and that he was not required to report the income. However, this response is not consistent with evidence from the federal government’s database of payments to U.S. doctors, and the Register Guard reported, “…Buehler has not produced any concrete evidence to back up the claim that the payments were made to his company, not to him…”
Yesterday, we challenged him to prove the evidence is incorrect and released details from the federal database of nine individual consulting payments Rep. Buehler received from Stryker Corporation.
Again, Chair Atkins pointed out his accountability:
“Rep. Buehler has ducked and dodged questions about nearly $100,000 he personally received from Stryker Corporation. He has failed to disclose significant income from special health care interests and state contractors since 2013 and he needs to come clean. If he has evidence any payments were something other than personal consulting payments, he needs to produce it, now.”
This story will continue to play out over the next several days as the Oregon Government Ethics Commission begins its investigation of Rep. Buehler. He has significant motivation to hide his financial relationship with Stryker Corporation given the potential damage to him. Stryker Corporation agreed to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission $13.2 million in 2013 for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, after making payments of more than $2.2 million to doctors, health care professionals and government employees. In November of 2014, Stryker also agreed to pay at least $1.4 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits by US patients who had surgeries to revise problematic Stryker hip replacements.
In a time when massive conflicts of interest are commonplace at the Presidential level of our government, the Democratic Party of Oregon is striving to uphold transparency in the financial dealings of our public officials. To allow these omissions to go unreported would be a failure to stand up for what we believe in.