State Commission Believes Former Oregon Governor Committed 10 Ethics Violations
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has voted unanimously to find former Governor John Kitzhaber guilty of ten ethics violations, and now he could be facing up to $50,000 in finds pending appeal.
Governor Kitzhaber faced the state ethics commissioners in person in Salem on Friday to talk publicly for the first time about the allegations that led to his resignation in 2015.
Kitzhaber apologized for missteps he had made and said he wanted to be held accountable. He said he was aware that there could be potential conflicts of interest with the kind of work that Cylvia Hayes was doing as a clean energy consultant. He had assigned staffers to look into any ethical conflicts, but at some point, he delegated more of the work and started focusing on other priorities as Governor.
Oregon Republican Senator Jeff Kruse of Roseburg said he will not resign despite the release of a months long investigation that concluded he sexually harassed two female senators and groped many other women working at the Oregon Capitol.
Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has an update on the developments.
Bend State Representative Dr. Knute Buehler is trying to become the first Republican to win an Oregon governor’s race in 30 years.
He announced his intention to run for the office last August, and since then, he has been traveling around the state meeting voters.
Buehler sat down for his first extensive broadcast interview since announcing his run with Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel and in part one they discuss how difficult this race could be for Buehler, a republican from the east side of the Cascades, who is taking on the incumbent democrat, current governor Kate Brown.
Stay tuned for part two of Central Oregon Daily’s extensive interview with Buehler.
In a meeting Friday morning the Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted 7-0-1 to accept 22 preliminary findings that Cylvia Hayes violated state ethics laws. One commissioner abstained from a potential conflict of interest for having worked for the state.eals
The commission found that Hayes, fiancee of former Governor John Kitzhaber, used her position as first lady to obtain jobs as a consultant, accept gifts worth more than the limit for a public official and did not handle potential and actual conflicts of interest.
The commission can’t fine Hayes yet. That decision will be held for a later meeting, however each violation comes with up to $5,000 in penalties and commissioners indicated they favor high fines against Hayes as this goes forward.
The Kitzhaber ethics case returns to the commission next week, and the commissioners indicated that both cases deserved significant fines instead of a slap on the wrist. Both Hayes and Kitzhaber can ask for a hearing before the commission, appeal to administrative judges in state government and then appeal to the Oregon Court of Appeals if they disagree with the eventual outcome.
Neither Hayes nor any representative/lawyer on her behalf attended the meeting. Their absence bothered commissioners who had hoped to question Hayes.
Hayes is expected to issue a statement later today and this post will be updated as more information is released. This story will also be covered today on Central Oregon Daily at 3 p.m. and updated again 6 p.m.
*This story was updated at 4:02 p.m. to express the 7-0-1 vote of the Oregon Government Ethics Commission. The original post wrongly stated that there were 8 votes for the preliminary findings.