Former Oregon state board director faces $20K ethics fine

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The former director of the Oregon Educators Benefits Board is facing a $20,000 fine after an investigation into his conduct.

The Statesman Journal reports the Oregon Government Ethics Commission levied the civil penalties in a 10-count ethics case against James Raussen that began two years ago.

The commission issued its final order by default at its November meeting after Raussen failed to appear at an earlier hearing.

The Oregon Educators Benefits Board purchases insurance benefits for public school teachers.

The commission found Raussen used his position for financial gain and improperly received gifts from companies that had an interest in his decision-making.

Records show Raussen’s violations included accepting gifts of food and game tickets from insurance companies, using a state vehicle to visit wineries and extending a business trip to Las Vegas on the taxpayer’s dime.

Raussen couldn’t be reached for comment.