AG won’t defend secretary of state over ballot measures

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is refusing to defend Secretary of State Bev Clarno in litigation over Clarno’s rejection of three proposed ballot initiatives to tighten state forestry laws.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Rosenblum also challenged Clarno’s legal basis for tossing the proposals, which Clarno said violated a state requirement that legislative measures stick to one subject. The rule applies equally to voter initiatives and bills in the Legislature.

Rosenblum, a Democrat, said she couldn’t represent Clarno, a Republican, because the Oregon Legislature is also a client and she didn’t want to make arguments that would impede its work. She said she authorized Clarno to find another lawyer due to the conflicting interests.

Clarno’s deputy, Rich Vial, declined to answer questions.