2015 ORS 177.180¹
Reports received through Government Waste Hotline or by other method
  • confidentiality
  • investigation
  • written determination
  • annual report to Legislative Assembly

(1) The Secretary of State shall designate one person employed by the Division of Audits of the Office of the Secretary of State to be responsible for reports of waste, inefficiency or abuse received through the Government Waste Hotline or received by the secretary through any other method. The person designated under this section shall log all reports received.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) or (5) of this section, the identity of any person calling the Government Waste Hotline or otherwise making a report under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) is confidential. A person making a report under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) may waive the confidentiality otherwise granted under this subsection.

(3) The secretary shall conduct an initial investigation of each report of waste, inefficiency or abuse made under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline). Following the initial investigation, the secretary shall determine which reports shall be investigated further and assign the investigation to audit staff qualified to conduct waste, inefficiency and abuse investigations. The secretary may audit any state agency if it appears that officers or employees of the agency, or persons under contract with the agency, are engaging in activities that constitute waste, inefficiency or abuse. Notwithstanding subsection (2) of this section:

(a) If the secretary determines during the investigation that a violation of any provision of ORS chapter 244 may be occurring or may have occurred, the secretary shall notify the Oregon Government Ethics Commission of the potential violation; and

(b) If the secretary determines during the investigation that fraud or other criminal activity may be occurring or may have occurred, the secretary shall notify the appropriate law enforcement agency of the potential fraud or other criminal activity.

(4) Except as provided in subsection (3) or (5) of this section, an investigation of a report of waste, inefficiency or abuse received under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) is confidential unless the secretary finds that waste, inefficiency or abuse has occurred and reports these determinations as provided under subsection (6) of this section or determines not to investigate following an initial investigation under subsection (3) of this section. If the secretary finds that waste, inefficiency or abuse has occurred, the investigation and any determinations made are confidential until the investigation described in subsection (3) of this section is complete. A determination by the secretary not to investigate following an initial investigation constitutes completion of the investigation.

(5) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (4) of this section, the secretary may convey the contents of a report of waste, inefficiency or abuse made under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) to a public body, as defined in ORS 174.109 ("Public body" defined), unless the person making the report under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) objects to disclosure of the report to the public body.

(6) Subject to the confidentiality requirements of subsection (2) of this section, upon completion of an investigation under this section:

(a) The secretary shall determine in writing whether officers or employees of a state agency, or persons under contract with a state agency, are engaging in activities that constitute waste, inefficiency or abuse. The written determination may include other information about the nature of the investigation or the secretary’s determination.

(b) If the secretary finds that waste, inefficiency or abuse has occurred, upon request of the person who made the report under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline), the secretary shall provide the person with a copy of the determination and any other information included by the secretary.

(c) If the secretary determines that officers or employees of another state agency or public body, or persons under contract with a state agency or public body, are involved in activities that constitute waste, inefficiency or abuse, the secretary shall notify the state agency or public body of the determination and deliver a copy of the secretary’s findings to the agency or body.

(7) A written determination prepared by the secretary under this section is a public record. Following the completion of an investigation, or a determination not to investigate beyond an initial investigation, all documents, information or other records relating to the investigation are disclosable public records under ORS 192.410 (Definitions for ORS 192.410 to 192.505) to 192.505 (Exempt and nonexempt public record to be separated) unless an exemption from disclosure set forth in a provision of law other than this section applies to the records, except that the identity of the person making the report under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) shall remain confidential.

(8) The secretary shall prepare an annual report and submit it to each regular session of the Legislative Assembly. The report shall describe the number, nature and resolution of reports made under ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline) and shall identify savings resulting from improved efficiencies or the elimination of waste or abuse resulting from reports received and investigations conducted under this section and ORS 177.170 (Government Waste Hotline). The report shall also list the number and nature of any positive reports received relating to state agencies, state employees or persons under contract with state agencies. [1995 c.138 §2; 2007 c.185 §2; 2011 c.221 §1; 2011 c.545 §73]


1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 177—Secretary of State, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors177.­html (2015) (last ac­cessed Jul. 16, 2016).
 
2 OregonLaws.org contains the con­tents of Volume 21 of the ORS, inserted along­side the per­tin­ent statutes. See the preface to the ORS An­no­ta­tions for more information.
 
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.