Oregon alleges former benefits board executive Raussen took unethical gifts

Investigation documents allege resigned official received gifts from insurance firms

Insurance News

By Allie Sanchez

Recently released state documents allege that former Oregon Educators Benefits Board executive director James Raussen accepted gifts beyond the allowable limit set by state ethics laws from insurers and consulting firms.

Among the gifts listed in the documents procured by local media are lavish meals and tickets to a professional basketball game, and they allege he used state vehicles to attend wine tastings in out of the way locales.

The benefits board put Raussen on paid leave in September and then asked the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation, according to a report by The Oregonian. The official resigned earlier this November before the conclusion of the investigation.

The Oregon Health Authority then released documents relating to the investigation in response to requests by local media outlets.  The regulator was also reported as saying that it had asked Raussen to go on leave “due to concerns related to conflict of interest, using state resources for personal purposes, inappropriate and disrespectful comments, and poor leadership.”

Documents reveal that several insurance firms have gifted Raussen with meals and other privileges that exceed the $50 limit per item set by Oregon ethics laws.

The Oregonian reported that Raussen could not be reached for comment on the matter. 


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