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Personal Liability of Public Officials

October 30, 2015

Public officials may be personally liable for an unlawful expenditure of public funds.  Under Oregon law, for example, ORS 294.100(1) states that "[i]t is unlawful for any public official to expend any moneys in excess of the amounts provided by law, or for any other or different purpose than provided by law."  This principle is not limited to Oregon; nearly every state has a similar statute or rule.  The specter of personal liability should raise red flags for all employees and directors of municipal utilities and PUDs.  This article will discuss the legal underpinnings of potential personal liability and offer advice on how it may be mitigated.

The majority of the cases discussing the potential personal liability of public officials involve the unlawful expenditure of public funds for campaign purposes.  For example,.....Read More


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