SALEM — A state senator caught on tape slipping anonymous packets under the doors of at least seven other senators last month has been warned his conduct could be considered workplace harassment.
The letter’s public disclosure is the latest in a series of actions by Sen. Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, that have raised eyebrows and prompted concern at the Capitol.
Boquist’s conduct recently drew a written warning from the Legislature’s top in-house lawyer, Dexter Johnson.
“I strongly urge you to be mindful (of) your actions and the appearance of your actions so that concerns about workplace harassment are not raised again,” Johnson, the legislative counsel, wrote in a “memo of concern” dated Dec. 5.
Such communications are typically confidential, but Boquist himself disclosed the memo Friday by distributing it to senators and having it posted on a legislative website.
Johnson said senators or their staff discovered documents tucked under their doors the morning of Nov. 15, a Thursday.
“In the security camera images, one can discern that the top page of the documents being held by you matches a page of the documents delivered to the offices,” Johnson wrote.
Boquist last month acknowledged his conduct in an email to Travis Hampton, Oregon State Police superintendent. Boquist was trying to determine how State Police accessed the Capitol’s surveillance video about the delivery.
In his email, Boquist said he delivered the documents to offices on three floors at the Capitol between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
He said he was distributing documents about an incoming senator “as a reminder” to other senators. He said the material included “biographical data, online data and quotes of a candidate who is now a senator elect.”
Boquist apparently was referring to Jeff Golden of Ashland, a Democrat who will take office next month as a senator.
Golden told the Oregon Capital Bureau that the materials other senators received referenced things he had said and done in the 1970s.
These included an excerpt from a book he wrote in his early 20s about working on a cooperative farm in the south, that “by 2018 standards does not read well,” Golden said.
During his campaign for Senate, certain statements about women in the book were lifted from the book and used in campaign mailers against him. At the time, Golden said such statements were lifted out of context.
Johnson wrote Boquist that some senators and their employees considered the anonymous delivery “coupled with the demonstrated insider access needed to complete delivery of the documents, to be very intimidating and hostile,” Johnson wrote.
Similar material was sent to another person’s Capitol office and home address, Johnson said. The version Boquist made public redacted that name, though Johnson noted that Boquist used a home address that the individual “has taken steps to shield from being publicly known.”
Johnson advised Boquist that some recipients also considered the stealth delivery to be “an act of retaliation.”