They commission’s handling of the high-profile case of former Gov. John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes exemplified this independence, auditors wrote. In 2018, staffers for the commission determined that Kitzhaber likely violated state ethics laws, including the prohibition against officials using their positions for personal gain, when he insisted that Hayes be allowed to influence state policies and gain access to high-level meetings. Commissioners agreed . Private groups paid the former first lady more than $200,000 to promote green energy and economic policies and commissioners also found she violated state ethics laws. At $2.9 million, the ethics commission’s two-year budget is look at here now tiny by state agency standards. Auditors said the Ethics Commission’s nine-person staff has only two investigators and no control over the number of ethics complaints they receive, so the state’s tight 30-day limit on preliminary investigations is problematic. Complaints are confidential during the preliminary investigation, which is supposed to give investigators an opportunity to determine if there is enough information to warrant a full investigation. When overloaded investigators cannot get answers to crucial questions in the 30-day window, the Ethics Commission is forced to decide whether to dismiss a potential valid complaint or proceed to a full investigation which could incorrectly signal to the public that there’s more evidence of an official’s potential wrongdoing than actually exists, auditors wrote. Ron Bersin, executive director of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, agreed with a number of the auditors’ recommendations and said the commission is neutral on others that would require legislation because Gov. Kate Brown has final say over whether to pursue such legislation. Changes that would require changes in state law include requiring school board members to file statements of economic interest, requiring public employees to go through ethics training or demonstrate knowledge of state ethics laws upon hiring and allowing anonymous or confidential ethics complaints. Auditors also recommended state laws be changed to limit the governor’s ability to remove an ethics commissioner, for example by requiring just cause, and to extend commissioners’ terms beyond four years or allow them to serve more than one term in order to retain some knowledge of state ethics laws. They suggested the Legislature authorize the Ethics Commission to hire its own independent lawyer so it would no longer have to rely on the Oregon Department of Justice for legal advice, since that agency’s employees are among the public officials subject to the commission’s oversight. Lawmakers could also propose any of those changes. Bersin noted that the Ethics Commission and governor already have a bill to extend the time investigators can spend on preliminary ethics inquiries from 30 to 60 days and the Senate passed it on a bipartisan vote in April. Senate Bill 60 is now in the House Rules Committee, where it has not been scheduled for a vote. Bersin agreed with all of auditors’ recommendations that would clearly not require changes to state law, including that the Ethics Commission should regularly produce a newsletter and use social media to inform the public about the commission’s case decisions, how to file a complaint, lobbying disclosures and other information. The ethics commission had already published two quarterly ethics newsletters by the time auditors finalized their report, Bersin wrote. Auditors noted that Oregon has the second lowest rate in the country of corruption convictions per 100,000 residents. “However, it is not clear whether Oregon’s corruption rate is low because corruption is not happening or because it is not being uncovered and properly investigated,” auditors wrote.https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/state/audit-oregon-should-boost-ethics-officials-independence-anti-corruption-measures/article_0fd045a0-86c4-504d-becd-0ab8010ba961.html
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United Kingdom British Airways owner IAG expects travel recovery from July British Airways owner IAG (ICAG.L) is confident travel will recover from July onwards after forecasting only a minimal increase in its capacity to 25% for the April to June quarter. IAG, which also owns Iberia and Vueling in Spain and Aer Lingus in Ireland, declined to forecast how much it would fly from July but said the recovery would be properly underway by then after more than a year of pandemic restrictions. "We consider in the second half that we are going to be flying and we are prepared for that," IAG Chief Executive Luis Gallego told reporters on Friday after the company posted a loss of 1.14 billion euros ($1.4 billion) in the first quarter. Before July, however, Gallego said government action was needed on some issues, such as opening travel corridors between countries with high vaccination rates, including the United Kingdom and the United States. The rise to 25% of pre-pandemic capacity puts IAG's plans behind those of rival airlines, and is only a marginal increase from the 19.6% it flew in the first three months of 2021. Britain, which along with Spain is one of IAG's main markets, is set to publish later on Friday its "green list" of low risk places where people can travel without needing to quarantine on their return. read more Gallego said IAG was expecting only a small list of countries initially with more being added from June onwards. A British Airways plane taxis past tail fins of parked aircraft near Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, March 14, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson "Part of the reason we're not giving guidance (for third-quarter capacity) is simply because we don't know what's on the green list yet," Chief Financial Officer Steve Gunning said. Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) expects to operate 50% of its pre-pandemic flight capacity in the second quarter, picking up to 55% to 65% in July-September. Lufthansa expects to fly at about 40% of its pre-pandemic capacity for 2021 as a whole. read more IAG's first-quarter operating loss before exceptional items of 1.14 billion euros was slightly better than the 1.17 billion euro loss forecast by analysts. Shares in the company, which have risen 30% since the beginning of the year, traded up 0.7%. "The company delivered a solid set of results and is pointing to the start of the recovery into the summer," Goodbody analyst Mark Simpson said. Given the ongoing uncertainty over COVID-19, IAG said it could not provide a profit outlook for 2021.https://www.reuters.com/world/uk/british-airways-owner-iag-posts-114-bln-euro-q1-loss-2021-05-07/