Recently released emails show that former first lady of Oregon Cylvia Hayes called on the governor’s state police security detail to obtain information on her nephew.
Oregon Live reported that in April 2011, Hayes contacted Sgt. Curt Driver, requesting he assist her in getting information about her nephew in Oklahoma. She wrote that he had “been in trouble with the law” and she wanted to confirm that he had recently gotten his driver’s license like he had claimed.
“I need to make sure he is telling me the truth,” she wrote to Driver. “If I give you the number and info, can you either check it out or let me know who to talk to check it?”
Hayes had sent the email with the subject line of “a non-DPU request.” Driver was head of the Dignitary Protection Unit assigned to provide security for former Governor John Kitzhaber. Hayes request was beyond his job description, but it seems as though she knew that.
When Driver wrote her back, he requested Hayes contact him with her nephew’s personal information. However, he reminded her that “this email system is public and public record so maybe a call is best.”
Although Hayes emailed him the information a week later, further electronic correspondence does not confirm that Driver filled her request.
According to Oregon Live, State Police spokesman Lt. Josh Brooks said that the only way he knows to check driver’s license status in another state is to check with state police dispatch or use an official law enforcement data portal. Both are reserved for a “lawful purpose,” and Hayes’ request does not appear to have met the criteria.
Brooks would not comment on whether Driver broke any laws. “At this point we don’t have any comment on this issue without having the opportunity to review it further,” he said.
Law enforcement officers do have access to databases, but under strict restrictions. The Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 put motor vehicle records off limits to the general public unless the driver provides their express written consent. The law was adopted in reaction to several abuses of personal information, including the use of such information to stalk and kill actress Rebecca Schaeffer.