Shemia Fagan was appointed Oregon Secretary of State in 2020 after securing the Democratic nomination. However, her time as secretary would be short-lived when it was revealed that she had been working as a private consultant for the cannabis company La Mota. This information sparked investigations into a conflict of interest against Fagan.
Fagan’s Conflict of Interest With La Mota Cannabis Company
In April, reports emerged that Secretary of State Shemia Fagan had been working for a cannabis company La Mota. It was revealed that Fagan had accepted the position as a private consultant for the cannabis company and was paid $10,000 monthly. It was further discovered that La Mota’s co-owner donated $45,000 to her campaign before her appointment as Secretary of State.
This news sparked investigations into how this could be considered a conflict of interest and raised questions about the integrity of state politics in Oregon. In response to this development, Governor Tina Kotek called for an ethics investigation by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission into Fagan’s actions and an investigation by the Oregon Department of Justice into the audit conducted by Fagan’s office.
Fagan quickly responded to these allegations and announced the termination of her consulting contract with La Mota, saying that she had broken the trust of Oregonians and could not survive on her $77,000 state salary.
The Resignation of Shemia Fagan
Following the termination of her consulting contract with La Mota and an apology from Fagan, it was announced that Shemia Fagan would resign as Oregon Secretary of State effective May 8. This resignation came after a virtual press conference on Monday where she apologized for breaking trust with Oregonians.
She said, “While I am confident that the ethics investigation will show that I followed the state’s legal and ethical guidelines in trying to make ends meet for my family, it is clear that my actions have become a distraction from the important and critical work of the Secretary of State’s office.”
“Protecting our state’s democracy and ensuring faith in our elected leaders – these are the reasons I ran for this office. They are also the reasons I will be submitting my resignation today. I want to thank the incredible staff in the Secretary of State’s office for their hard work and Oregonians for the opportunity to serve them. It has been a true honor to serve the people of Oregon.”
“At this time, I believe it is in the best interest of our state for me to focus on my children, my family, and personal reflection so that the Secretary of State staff can continue to offer the exemplary customer service Oregonians deserve.”
After the announcement of Shemia Fagan’s resignation as Oregon Secretary of State, the state has begun to consider potential replacements. According to reports, Democratic Governor Kate Brown is expected to appoint an interim secretary who a majority vote in the Oregon Senate must then approve. Once appointed, they will serve in the position until a special election can be held later.
The news of Fagan’s resignation serves as a reminder that politics isn’t always what it seems and the importance of transparency in matters involving public office. It is important to note that while legislation may be created with good intentions, corruption can still arise without sufficient transparency among government officials.
Corruption in Cannabis Politics
The news of Secretary of State Shemia Fagan’s resignation proves the importance of proper checks and balances in government. In this case, it was revealed that despite Fagan’s appointment to a critical position in the Oregon state government, ethical issues still arose due to her accepting a private consulting contract with La Mota. Such events can be seen as similar to how lobbyists can give money and other forms of support to congressional members in exchange for favors from them.
Corruption is no surprise within the cannabis industry, as we’ve seen with the recent case of Michigan politician Rick Johnson, who was charged with accepting bribes as a consultant to cannabis businesses and using his influence to push legislation through. These events serve as a reminder that although cannabis may present business opportunities, proper controls must be implemented to ensure political integrity is not compromised and citizens’ trust is not broken.
Enjoyed that first hit? Come chill with us every week at the Friday Sesh for a freshly packed bowl of the week’s best cannabis news!