Feds to Investigate Former Oregon Secretary of State’s Relationship with Cannabis Company Owners

June 13, 2023 · Ganjapreneur

Close-up Of A Businessperson's Hand Looking At Receipts Through Magnifying Glass At Workplace

Federal criminal investigators in late May sent subpoenas to five Oregon agencies for records concerning former Secretary of State Shemia Fagan and the owners of cannabis company La Mota, Aaron Mitchell and Rosa Cazares, whom Fagan worked for as a private consultant, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. 

Fagan stepped down from her government role on May 8 after it was discovered that she had taken the consultant role and her office had prepared an audit of state cannabis regulations that was viewed as favorable to cannabis companies.  

Following her resignation, the state launched two investigations – one into whether Fagan broke state ethics laws, and another focused on the audit. 

Federal prosecutors have convened a grand jury focused on the scandal, although it’s unclear the nature of the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Ethan Knight, chief of the office’s economic crimes unit, in late May sent the subpoenas to the Secretary of State’s Office, the Oregon Department of Revenue, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission (OLCC), and the Department of Administrative Services, seeking records back to 2018. 

Prior to her resignation, Fagan said he had “faithfully followed Oregon’s ethics rules and laws.” 

From the OLCC, federal officials requested documents regarding the audit carried out under Fagan’s tenure, along with any records dealing with Cazares or Mitchell, and “any communications to or from Shemia Fagan regarding the marijuana/cannabis industry,” among other thing, according to the documents outlined by OPB.  

From the Secretary of State’s Office, investigators requested records related to Fagan’s employment, schedules, travel itineraries, use of official credit cards, call and text records, and campaign finance records. They’re also seeking communications with Cazares and Mitchell and records of the couple’s campaign finance contributions. 

From the Ethics Commission, investigators subpoenaed documents related to “Ethical discussions, questions and or conflicts of interest related to Shemia Fagan and/or her election campaigns” and from the Department of Revenue, “Any communications to or from Shemia Fagan regarding Aaron Mitchell and or Rosa Cazares.”  (Full Story)

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