Either this was a cover up prior to the election engaging in some serious CYA, or incompetence or just honest mistakes.
You will have to be the judge based on the evidence we present in this post which are underlined links to relevant documents.
Two main points for consideration:
1. Based on public records received from the Governor's office it appears the Governor used her state credit card for personal expenses (for which she reimbursed the state) and then later had the Governor's official policy regarding such inappropriate uses revised (August 8, 2016) the day before OCWF received our first public records request information on August 9, 2016. The prior policy (above) had no such stated prohibitions of mistakenly using a state credit card for personal expenses or a requirement of reimbursing the taxpayers.
Given the political optics if this had become known prior to the election it isn't hard to imagine that the Governor Brown would not have wanted her credit card misuse out there, thus the possible purposeful slow walk of credit card statements until just four days before the election. Or for that matter the possible CYA of revising the Governor's credit card policy prior to releasing the first public records request information and long after she had reimbursed the state.
Or it could be just a case of coincidence, bad timing or incompetence.
Note: OCWF made the request for the Governor's credit card use policy on January 10, 2017 based on questions that arose from our review of Governor's office credit card statements received on Nov 4, 2016 just four days before the election. We have many questions regarding credit card expenditures in the Governor's office and will be asking them moving forward.
2. The Governor used her credit card (page three) to pay for her husband's stay during her trip to a tribal conference based on her official calendar (Dec 15, 2015 page 45) provided by her office in response to an OCWF public records request on December 19,2016. The Governor's prior credit card policy of May 11, 2015 referenced above seems to indicate that this was acceptable as it uses the words "DPU can pay for the expenses of everyone accompanying the Governor on official business". The word "everyone" would certainly apply to the Governor's husband.
Yet the revised credit card policy of August 8, 2016 (also referenced above) has removed that sentence entirely and appears to present a much tighter and appropriate policy for using taxpayer dollars to pay for only staff and security when the Governor is on official business.
I guess it is no wonder that Governor Brown did not reimburse the taxpayers for her husband staying with her (which may have violated either state law or her own policy) based on the prior credit card policy. The fact that the policy was revised after the fact to no longer allow this practice sends up all kinds of red flags.
We have asked the Governor's office for exactly what is her policy regarding this issue and will release it when we receive it from the Governor.
Again, its not hard to imagine that Governor Brown would not have wanted this information out in public during a difficult election which may explain why the policy was revised after the fact and the information was slow walked until so close to the election that it could not have made a difference.
Or, it could just be coincidence, bad timing or incompetence.