By Andrew Selsky

The Associated Press

SALEM — The Democratic Party of Oregon filed a complaint Friday against Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, the top Republican state official, alleging he tried to sway voters against a ballot measure on a health-care tax that is the subject of a special election in January.

In a letter to Elections Director Steve Trout, Democratic Party Chairwoman Jeanne Atkins — who coincidentally preceded Richardson as Secretary of State — asked that the matter be referred to the state attorney general for investigation.

Richardson called the Oregon Health Authority “the agency of wasteful spending” in a statement on Wednesday. He noted Oregon voters will soon be considering approving tax increases intended to provide additional funding to the OHA, and accused the health authority of misfeasance and obfuscation because it allegedly failed to cooperate with an audit his office recently conducted.

The audit found the authority had wasted hundreds of millions of dollars because of improper Medicaid payments, Richardson said.

Atkins said Richardson, Oregon’s top election official, violated the law by using public resources to advocate elections decisions.