Attorney general conducting a criminal investigation into Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is taking action against the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission.

The Criminal Division of Rosenblum’s office opened a criminal investigation against members of the leadership of the OLCC. The members are accused of abusing their positions of power for personal gain.

“In light of this decision, the civil investigation requested Wednesday by Governor Kotek will be delayed until the completion of the criminal investigation,” a press release from Rosenblum’s office said.

Rosenblum’s office said that the investigation has to do with liquor purchases made by OLCC members but does not explain what exactly happened.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek asked the board to remove its executive director and other leadership members.

“This behavior is wholly unacceptable,” Kotek wrote in a letter to the OLCC last week. “I will not tolerate wrongful violations of our government ethics laws.”

"I urge the commission to install new leadership and remove the managers and executive leadership who have taken advantage of their access and authority to benefit themselves," Kotek added.

Steve Marks is currently the OLCC executive director. In Oregon, the governor appoints people to the OLCC's board of commissioners. Then, the board picks the executive director.

In her letter, Kotek said an internal review confirmed OLCC members were guilty of certain ethics violations.

Kotek also called on Rosenblum to conduct a civil investigation into the matter. Kotek asked Rosenblum to recommend protocols to prevent these violations from happening again.

"This investigation should not undermine the great work that the staff of OLCC performs every day,” Kotek wrote. “Despite the disappointing actions of a few, the vast majority of public servants within OLCC serve Oregonians with integrity and dedication."

Kotek’s office told The Center Square over the weekend that it has no further comment on this issue. Rosenblum’s office could not be immediately reached for comment on Monday.

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