My view • Prosecution decisions based on evidence, law
As a public figure, I am accustomed to receiving some unwarranted pot shots. However, when your paper prints stories that are untrue and filled with inaccuracies, I am compelled to respond (Call it a conflict of no interest, July 10).
Had Phil Stanford called me in advance to discuss the accusations, perhaps I could have set the record straight. In particular, Mr. Stanford suggests that the U.S. Attorney's office failed to bring criminal charges against Craig Berkman because of improper motives and influence. That is simply not true.
Without exception, the federal prosecutors in this office evaluate every case based solely on the evidence and the federal criminal laws. Whenever there is any matter in which I personally have an actual conflict, a potential conflict or even simply the appearance of a conflict, I do not participate in decisions about the case. I have never deviated from this practice during my tenure as U.S. attorney. Moreover, I have never asserted any improper influence whatsoever over any prosecutor or investigator. To suggest otherwise would not only be false, but offensive to the men and women of this office who, along with investigators, make independent judgments every day about whether or not to open criminal cases.
Mr. Stanford's further suggestion that I inappropriately share information about the office's cases with my husband is also untrue. I have been a prosecutor for more than 17 years on both the state and federal levels. I have held top-secret security clearance for the last five years as U.S. attorney. I am well aware of my ethical and legal obligations to protect confidential information that I learn in the course of my work. I have never shared confidential information from my work with individuals outside of the office, not even my husband. Any claims to the contrary are completely false.
Mr. Stanford's statements that I inappropriately 'asked staff to contribute money and time for parties' at my home and that secretaries 'were asked to decorate the place' are also untrue. The truth is that members of my staff asked me to hold our office winter holiday party at my house instead of holding the party at a restaurant or in the federal courthouse, which had been our usual practice. Because taxpayer money cannot be used to pay for food or beverages at parties, it has always been the U.S. Attorney's office's practice to have all employees pay for the party. Therefore, an office committee of staff and lawyers sought contributions from all employees who planned to attend. I personally bought decorations for the house. I also donated money and beverages for these office parties.
Finally, Stanford references a bar complaint filed against me, but fails to even mention that it was summarily dismissed.
I have had the honor of running an office of more than 100 public servants who work every day to make Oregon a better and safer community. I constantly emphasize that ethics and professionalism are our highest priorities. It is disappointing that Mr. Stanford does not strive for the same goals.
Karin J. Immergut is the U.S. Attorney, District of Oregon.