Salem, OR—Today, Secretary of State Dennis Richardson made the following statement:
As your Secretary of State, my top priorities are transparency, accountably, and integrity. Although I focus on doing my job as your Secretary of State and avoid responding to every attempt by political critics to divert attention from the successes of this agency, sometimes the attacks are so outrageous that a statement is needed to set the record straight.
I work every day to increase voter confidence in our electoral process. Sadly, several political critics have engaged in a hypocritical attempt to undermine voter confidence in Oregon's election system by attacking my integrity. These political critics have stooped to arguing that a single survey paid for by my campaign for governor in 2014 has miraculously resulted in improper expenditure of public funds by this agency. They demand answers
and insinuate undefined wrongdoing. I am glad to respond.
In 2014, my campaign staff spent $5,000 out of a $3,000,000 budget for a survey by Cambridge Analytica. At the time, they were a British campaign-survey company, new to American politics. They were just beginning their work in the American elections campaign industry. They were given a chance to do a single survey, and my recollection is that our campaign was unimpressed. We paid the $5,000 invoice and never used them again. End of story.
Critics ask what I am doing to ensure that Oregonians' private data will be protected. I am glad to explain the work my administration has done to increase privacy protections for Oregonians.
Prior Secretaries of State, including one of my critics, routinely sold Oregon voters' birth month and day and phone numbers to anyone who paid a fee. A person's birth month and day, as well as their phone number, are important “points” of information that sophisticated computer analysts and ID thieves use to create complex individual profiles. When I learned that this office was selling voters' birth month and day and phone number, I put a stop to it.
This month, the Legislature and Governor changed the law to make permanent my privacy protection policy for voters' birth month and day. Unfortunately, they also overturned part of my policy by now making the sale of voters' phone numbers a requirement.
In sum, the credibility of political critics is undone by the inconvenience of the truth. Oregonians can be confident in the transparency, accountability, and integrity of my office and the professional staff in our Elections Division.