HILLSBORO, Ore. (KOIN) — Washington County auditor John Hutzler has been the focus of two investigations into how he’s treated his employees, and he’s accused of misrepresenting himself to voters.
Hutzler submitted two statements of support in the official voters pamphlet. The first statement was attributed to the Beaverton Valley Times and said “John Hutzler is the clear choice to remain Washington County auditor.” The other was attributed to the Hillsboro Tribune, which is now called the Hillsboro News-Times. That statement said “Hutzler is an asset to Washington County.”
The same statements were on Hutzler’s website.
The two quotes were traced to a single letter published by both papers — but the letter wasn’t written by either paper.
A supporter of Hutzler’s policies, Eric Squires said he wrote the letter to the editor. Squires told KOIN 6 News Hutzler asked him to write the statements and agreed the voter’s pamphlet was misleading.
The regional publisher for Pamplin Media said:
“Mr. Hutzler has misstated information in the voters’ guide and on his website. Two quotes that he attributes to the Hillsboro Tribune and Beaverton Valley Times could be interpreted as an endorsement by our newspapers. The quotes are based on a letter to the editor written by a private citizen, not an endorsement by our editorial board. I want to clarify that no Pamplin Media Newspaper has endorsed Mr. Hutzler in this election.”
During an interview over Zoom with KOIN 6 News’ Dan Tilkin, Hutzler hastily ended the video call after being asked if he was endorsed by both the Beaverton Valley Times in the Hillsboro Tribune.
“I’m sorry, Dan, I’m gonna terminate this interview. You’re going way off what you had indicated to me, we would talk about,” Hutzler said before ending the video call.
After KOIN 6 News’ investigation began and Hutzler was asked about the two statements attributed to the newspapers, his website was changed. The statements are still there, but the attribution to the newspapers have been removed.
The statements Pamplin Media calls “misstated” are still in the voters’ pamphlet, which has already been mailed to homes across Washington County.
Hutzler released the following statement to KOIN 6 News:
“Pamplin has made no endorsement in the race for County Auditor, and I do not list Pamplin Media among my endorsers. The instructions for including quotes in the Voters Pamphlet Candidate Statement require only that the name and date of the publication in which the statement appeared be provided. I regret that, by following those detailed instructions, I created the impression that Pamplin was endorsing me. My intention was only to indicate when and where these statements were published, as directed by the instructions.
“When Pamplin Media brought their concerns to my attention, I promptly contacted Washington County Elections. The Elections Manager confirmed that the instructions currently require only that the name and date of the publication in which a statement appeared be provided. It was too late to amend the Voters Pamphlet, but I recommended that, to avoid such problems in the future, Elections should require that the name of the author of a published statement also be submitted.”
Adams-Wannberg released the following statement:
“Auditors need to have the public’s trust, maintain a high level of integrity and professionalism, and provide information that is accurate and transparent. I am disappointed that Mr. Hutzler would spread misinformation in the Washington County Voter’s Pamphlet. Washington County residents can’t afford a fourth term of the same failed leadership. I’ll restore transparency, trust, and morale to this crucial office as the next County Auditor.”