Former Commissioner Breidenthal cleared by Oregon DOJ

Medford, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Justice has concluded there is insufficient evidence to press criminal charges against former Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal.

In a letter from DOJ to Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert, Chief Counsel Michael Slauson wrote an investigation began into allegations that Breidenthal misused funds from an Association of Oregon Counties (AOC) account.

Then-Sheriff Corey Falls and Jackson County Auditor Eric Spivak alleged possible violations of government ethics laws as well as criminal acts involving theft, misconduct and election laws violations, according to Slauson.

DOJ said an investigation shows Breidenthal sought an elected position within the Western Interstate Region of the National Association of Counties, a non-profit comprised of elected officials.

On the advice of the Association of Counties, Breidenthal received money from various donors supporting his campaign. That money was put into an AOC owned account.

According to the DOJ, the funds in the AOC account were owned by Breidenthal and were used at his discretion for the WIR campaign.

Over time, Breidenthal used some of the funds for purposes that appeared to be unrelated to the WIR campaign, including making commissioner campaign donations in his name. The DOJ considered whether these actions were considered theft, but concluded criminal charges were not warranted.

DOJ also concluded official misconduct charges were unwarranted.

Finally, DOJ officials said Breidenthal used funds to make a donation to another candidate for commissioner. DOJ concluded there was insufficient evidence to support any charges.

Chief Counsel Slauson wrote in part, “To conclude, we have determined that there is insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges against Mr. Breidenthal regarding the allegations raised by Sheriff Falls and Auditor Spvak. Accordingly, we will close our file in this matter.”

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission suspended their investigation into Breidenthal pending the DOJ’s own inquiry into the former commissioner. They are now expected to carry on their own investigation, that began in late 2015 after Spivak filed the Ethics complaint.

You can read Slauson’s entire letter to D.A. Heckert here:

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