State Bar Clears Kulongoski

The Oregon State Bar yesterday rejected a claim by Lars Larson against Ted Kulongoski.  Larson's complaint accused the Governor of knowing about Neil Goldschmidt's sex abuse of an underage girl when he appointed Goldschmidt to the state board of higher education in 2003.

In a letter issued Thursday, the bar's general counsel Sylvia Stevens upheld a previous dismissal of the complaint filed by Portland talk radio host Lars Larson and Newberg resident James Johnson.

Larson filed the complaint after Goldschmidt's former speechwriter, Fred Leonhardt submitted a sworn statement that he told Kulongoski about the abuse years before it became public. Kulongoski has denied Leonhardt's account and says he learned about it in May 2004, the day before it became public in newspapers....

Stevens wrote: "Given the contradictory accounts . . . and the total absence of any other evidence, I cannot conclude that there is sufficient evidence to form a reasonable belief that misconduct may have occurred."

BlueOregon previously discussed Lar's claim hereDiscuss.

  • Oregonian fan (unverified)

    If you compared the number of column inches the Oregonian devoted to INVITING and then (self-)PROMOTING this Oregon Bar claim to the number of column inches they devoted to reporting that the claim was dismissed you would find, surprise, a giant disparity. This is another sad episode for the Oregonian, a generally fine newspapaer that somehow manages to consistently shoot itself in the foot when dealing with tricky political stories. They should be ashamed of this episode.

  • lin qiao (unverified)

    Let's start a betting pool on how long it takes Jack Bogdanski to post something on his blog about this decision being due to the nefarious influence of Neil Goldschmidt. I'll give him about 30 seconds.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
    (Show?) do we start an ivestigation on Lars? Or do we want to stoop that low? I hope this teaches Lars a lesson to mind his own business and just SHUT UP for once in his life.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
    (Show?) do we start an ivestigation on Lars? Or do we want to stoop that low? I hope this teaches Lars a lesson to mind his own business and just SHUT UP for once in his life.

  • anon (unverified)

    Of course Kulongoski knew. Giusto knew. Everybody in the good old boys club knew. But nobody cares.

  • LT (unverified)

    Anon: from the beginning, Lars and a lot of others (incl. Steve Duin) were saying the equivalent of "anyone with values will give unquestioning support to Leonhart". Why we were supposed to believe someone who could possibly be just a disgruntled former employee? (Where is the record Leonhart filled out a formal child abuse complaint? Talking to someone at a party would not qualify for the abuse reporting requirement of a professional bound by such requirements, so why is it OK for a political staffer?)

    If you are saying that Bar counsel Stevens knew Leonhart was telling the truth and everyone else was lying, ( or does Sylvia Stevens not belong in the category of "Everybody in the good old boys club knew. But nobody cares."?) you need to furnish proof.

    Ironically, part of the reason the McCain story (at least the romantic relationship part) has spurred discussion by journalists is that it fits the category of stories, "where it sounds like the reporter is saying ' I know in my gut this is true but I just can't prove it' and how a story on the front page of the NY Times should have had named sources rather than anonymous--or not be printed.

    The problem some people had with this story was OK, Goldschmidt was a perv, but the hype when the story first broke was as if anyone who ever voted for Goldschmidt should have known better, and thus should feel ashamed.

    Few talked about the role of the parents in this story, how it was kept from the people investigating Neil for the background check before he was a cabinet secretary for Carter, or asking Norma Paulus (who almost beat Neil G. in 1986) for comment.

    Even of Ted K., Bernie G. and anyone else who had known Neil G. socially were publicly humiliated and driven from public life, that wouldn't have housed homeless veterans or given health care coverage to kids, or dealt with multiple other problems in this state.

    But then, I don't read tabloid newspapers, either.

  • (Show?)

    LT makes a critical point. If the FBI didn't find it when doing a presidential cabinet -level background check, then it's simply not credible to state that "everybody knew".

  • Don (unverified)

    It was apparent from the start that Lars was doing this simply so he could get some publicity and increase his ratings. The only way it was possible Kulongoski was found in violation of the Ethics rules was if they completely dismissed anything he said and believed, in the worst possible light to Kulongoski, what was said by Leonhardt. That would have been questionable, to say the least.

  • Lauren Paulson (unverified)

    ANON has it right, but let me take the obvious a step further. The Oregon State Bar is a narrow oligarchy. See my most recent blog article of March 6, 2008 at on that subject.

    Sylvia Stevens is part of that oligarchy. A word on why she gets to dismiss the Larson matter on our good governor. In 2001, Bar membership had enough and voted to revamp the Bar's disciplinary system. Bar leadership was against it. The membership prevailed and created the Client Assistance Office to take complaint intake away from Jeff Sapiro, the Bar's disciplinary counsel. Thus, Lars Larson's complaint did not even get an investigation because it was screened out by the Bar's General Counsel's office which is a political office not a disciplinary office. Besides, Sylvia Stevens wants to be the Bar's Executive Director when Karen Garst retires, so she is the last person to make a decision to investigate the Governor.

    Last year, (September 16, 2007) I made a post critical of Lars Larson on my blog site, so I am hardly his apologist. Moreover, when Goldschmidt's troubles surfaced, I sent him a letter of support for all he did for Oregon--before I found out what he had really done - no thanks to the Oregonian.

    Oregon's Bar leadership is a 'good-old boy' network. It is insidious. Guess why Susan Leeson is no longer on the Supreme Court of Oregon. Don't kid yourself.

in the news

connect with blueoregon