By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

Paasch cleared of alleged ethics violation

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission (OGEC) has dismissed an alleged violation against Curry County Commission Chair Christopher Paasch May 31.

Lori Gallo-Stoddard alleged in a complaint to OGEC April 12 that Paasch, “might have used his official position in a prohibited manner by including a link to an entity with which he is associated on his Commissioner’s Page on the county’s website,” according to OGEC documents.

Gallo-Stoddard’s complaint pointed to the Dreams Hope and Faith Foundation, a non-profit 501-C3 as the business.

Paasch responded to the complaint by saying he and his wife had started the foundation as a legal non-profit in order to help children and ran it with money from private donors. He said they had often funded shortcomings in its budget with their own money and emphasized he had never taken money from the foundation and had never used the ranch associated with it for monetary gain.

Paasch said the ethics commission “saw no violations and were happy I was so forthcoming with information regarding the allegation.”

“She should not be creating news,” Paasch said of Gallo-Stoddard, who is news director at KCIW radio in Brookings. “She should report the news.”

Gallo-Stoddard had no comment about the decision.

The OGEC report said the foundation is “explicitly excluded from the definition of ‘a business with which one is associated’ for purposes of the application of the prohibited use of office provision of ORS Chapter 244, and therefore Commissioner Paasch’s use of the County website to link to this charity does not appear to be a violation. . .”

In its findings, the ethics commission noted Paasch had hyperlinked from his page on the county’s official website to a foundation he and his wife founded; however, the report said the foundation is a non-profit, 501(c) tax exempt corporation, and other information indicated he and his spouse act only as directors, in non-remunerative capacities.

The report concluded OGEC should dismiss the complaint.

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