A candid camera recorded a progressive Democrat operative criticizing Gov. Kate Brown (D) of Oregon. Brown’s former campaign manager Michael Kolenc tells the undercover journalist in the Project Veritas video that Brown is “a really awful manager of people, operations and structures.” Moreover, Kolenc alleges that state government funds are being used for campaign expenses, “all the time.” Kolenc says, “Yeah, it [Brown’s administration] was “shady as f**k.”
According to a release from Project Veritas, the video exposes “widespread mismanagement and possible campaign law violations associated with Governor Kate Brown. The undercover report features a former campaign manager for Brown, Michael Kolenc, candidly revealing the governor’s misdeeds both in running her last campaign and in governing the state of Oregon.” The progressive Brown is often billed as the nation’s first openly bisexual governor. Her reelection campaign has been endorsed by former President Barack Obama. According to the Real Clear Politics averaging of polls, Brown leads Republican candidate Knute Buehler by 3.6 points. However, the race is rated a toss-up.
In the video, Kolenc tells the undercover journalist about how Brown may have utilized government staff and resources for campaign purposes.
KOLENC: “Well, yeah, the government side can’t direct the campaign side, which is what was happening.”
JOURNALIST: “How so?”
KOLENC: “Well, the [Governor’s] chief of staff is the one who got me fired.”
Kolenc elaborated, indicating that there are limitations on government work hours that can be used to direct campaign work, saying “… you can’t really have one person in charge of everything because of the legal limitations…” When he was asked if Brown knew about these potential violations of Oregon law, Kolenc asserts that the governor “… had to have known.”
In the video, Kolenc was asked about a controversy involving Brown’s former chief of staff, Kristen Leonard, who departed after attention was focused on a potential conflict of interest involving a government contract held by a company she owns.
JOURNALIST: “How did you find out about the whole, chief of staff had this corrupt thing?”
KOLENC: “The finance director flagged it for me… they had tried to fire this consulting company earlier, like six months earlier, and the chief of staff totally put the kibosh on it and the woman that tried to fire them was the person that hired me to come in and she was let go from the campaign after she brought me in…”
Another detail revealed in the report is an allegation involving Kate Brown and an alleged quid-pro-quo exchange for campaign contributions from Comcast.
KOLENC: “It was something in 20– it was something earlier in her tenure, but she had written a letter for Comcast and they gave her like $100,000 check or something. And it was just like, it didn’t look good, and it shouldn’t look good. She didn’t do anything illegal, but the perception that it’s a quid-pro-quo, like I’m going to write a letter of support for something, and you’re going to write me a $100,000 check, it doesn’t look good.”
JOURNALIST: “Oh, she did that?”
KOLENC: “Yes, she absolutely did that, yeah. It was before I got there, but that type of thing, when you’re trying to appeal to working-class people that don’t have that money, they don’t understand it…”
When asked if he believes Governor Brown still receives contributions for favors, Kolenc states: “Oh, it’s 100% going on, it’s 100% going on. It’s really discouraging…”
Kolenc said that Brown’s administration of Oregon so far is as “… shady as f**k…,” and that generally nobody discloses “low-level graft, low-level corruption…”
Using Government Funds for Campaign Expenses
Kolenc said that Governor Brown allegedly uses government funds for political campaign purposes.
KOLENC: ” Yeah, it could happen… It could, she did do that, yeah. It happens. And it happens all the time.”
Kolenc revealed little confidence in Brown’s capacity for administration. He told the undercover reporter, “She’s a really awful manager of people, operations and structures. She’s just not a good manager, and she doesn’t hire, she doesn’t hire good managers. So that’s like one of her, a fundamental problem that she has…”