Latest updates on Kitzhaber-Cylvia Hayes scandal

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by NW Spotlight

Another Friday document dump, Oregon Dem Attorney General finally wakes up, more national news, another Oregon paper calls for Kitzhaber to resign, and the possibility of jail time

Highlights from another Friday Kitzhaber document dump

Remember when Nkenge Harmon Johnson, Kitzhaber’s former communications director, wrote an op-ed just before the election? In part, she wrote “I voiced concerns about the first lady, the overlap of campaign and state advisers, and the ways they interacted with state business.” After yesterday’s document dump, Willamette Week ran this story: Letter Shows Gov. John Kitzhaber Fired Spokeswoman Last Year Because She Criticized First Lady Cylvia Hayes

Highlights from the Oregonian’s analysis of the document dump:

“The Administrative Services Department released the public records within two weeks — in contrast to records requests the governor’s office has yet to fulfill from months ago.”

“The emails appear to erase any doubt that, as first lady, Hayes was taking money in her private role and pushing the same policy in her public one.”

“The emails, released by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services, also show a deeper involvement by Kitzhaber than state officials had previously described.”

“The New York-based advocacy group that hired Cylvia Hayes in 2013 issued a statement on her work Friday night, saying it ‘should not have trusted’ the first lady to balance her public and private roles.”

[UPDATE 2/8/2015] Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week is uncovering “smoking guns” in the Kitzhaber-Cylvia Hayes scandal. Hard hitting and well worth the read.

[UPDATE 2/8/2015] Oregonian’s Steve Duin: With Cylvia Hayes and John Kitzhaber, the shadow grows

Oregon Dem Attorney General wakes up, but will she do anything?

After months of doing nothing, someone finally woke up Oregon’s Dem Attorney General. AG Ellen Rosenblum now acknowledges fellow Dem Kitzhaber and Hayes allegations are “very serious — and troubling.”

Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week wasn’t cutting her any slack, reporting that the Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum “sat on her hands” and “isn’t following the law.”

Jaquiss had earlier asked “Why is Oregon AG Ellen Rosenblum ducking the Kitzhaber-Hayes case?” Jaquiss wrote “But Rosenblum has so far been AWOL. She has not opened an investigation, despite having significant resources at her disposal and a mandate under state law to investigate public corruption.”

That takes cojones and incredible integrity to report like that – not because she’s the attorney general – but because Rosenblum is married to Willamette Week Publisher and co-owner Richard Meeker!

[UPDATE 2/9/2015] Gov. John Kitzhaber has now asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to open an investigation of his office. Good news, right? Maybe not – Willamette Week notes “Kitzhaber’s request today may not be what it appears,” and “Kitzhaber’s letter to Rosenblum today will allow his office to further delay producing public records.” Laura Gunderson at the Oregonian reports that Attorney General Rosenblum (also a Democrat) replied to the governor that her office had already opened an investigation. The Oregonian also reported that “Rosenblum has flip-flopped on the Kitzhaber-Hayes controversy over the last week.

[UPDATE 2/9/2015] Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week reporting Gov. Kitzhaber and Attorney General are already in conflict over scope of the investigation

Kitzhaber-Hayes scandal makes more national news

On Thursday we highlighted some of the national news outlets that were reporting on the Gov. Kitzhaber and Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes scandal. Since then, there’s been more national reporting on the Oregon scandal:

Willamette Week did a nice job of summarizing articles in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and Reuters – which ran on the New York Times site.

Huffington PostAllegations Against Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber ‘Troubling,’ State Attorney General Says

Rachel Maddow on MSNBCGirlfriend of governor raises red flags in Oregon (again)


Washington Post Controversy expands over Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber’s fiancée

PoliticoOregon governor facing calls for resignation, state probe

NY Times (AP)Oregon: Governor Relents on Scrutiny of Fiancée

Huffington Post (Reuters) Oregon Governor Under Investigation For Potential Conflict Of Interest

Second Oregon newspaper calls for Kitzhaber to resign

Yesterday the Yamhill Valley News-Register became the 2nd Oregon newspaper to call for Kitzhaber’s resignation.

On Wednesday, the Oregonian Editorial Board called for Kitzhaber to resign.

[UPDATE 2/9/2015] An increasingly frustrated Oregonian editorial board flamed a “desperate” Kitzhaber, including this: “And can anyone read without laughing the following words from the governor’s letter: ‘No one wants these questions answered more than we do …’?”

[UPDATE 2/10/2015] Another scathing flame from the Oregonian editorial board – this time on Kitzhaber for trying “to play the gender card in defending the first couple’s FLUID APPROACH TO ETHICS.”

Possible jail time?

On Wednesday, Anna Walters at Willamette Week wrote about the similarities between Oregon’s Dem Gov. John Kitzhaber and First Lady Cylvia Hayes scandal and the scandal of former Republican Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell.

The McDonnell’s “were convicted by a federal jury of selling the influence of the governor’s office” and will be heading to federal prison. Walters writes “The two cases have similarities but also key differences,” and concludes “the same FBI office that investigated the McDonnells is also looking into Hayes’ and Kitzhaber’s actions.”

[UPDATE 2/9/2015] Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes has now hired one of Oregon’s top CRIMINAL defense lawyers because of her “tax situation”

Another newspaper calls for a grand jury investigation

On Thursday, the Portland Tribune Editorial Board called for a grand jury investigation into Kitzhaber & Hayes.

The Eugene Register-Guard had previously called for “appointing a retired judge to present the evidence to a grand jury.”

Attempts to claim Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes is not a public official

[UPDATE 2/9/2015] Nick Budnick at the Oregonian reporting Gov. Kitzhaber and Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes say Oregon ethics commission has no jurisdiction over Hayes. However, the Oregonian notes that “The governor’s own staff counsel, Liani Reeves, said in submissions to the ethics commission last fall that the office treated Hayes as a public official. Ethics disclosures that Hayes signed call her a ‘public official.'”

Additionally, Nigel Jaquiss at WW points out that Cylvia Hayes’ lawyer “will have an uphill battle proving Hayes is not a public official. As WW and other media have shown, Hayes represented the state as first lady, attended senior staff meetings; co-chaired the group that wrote Kitzhaber’s 10-year Energy Plan; contributed to his 10-Year Budget Plan; and worked closely with top state officials to incorporate something called the ‘genuine progress indicator’ in state policy. She also traveled regularly on state business, even as she noted on the website of her company, 3E Strategies, ‘leading a State of Oregon trade mission to Ghangzhou, China.'”

[UPDATE 2/10/2015] Gov. Kitzhaber, Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes and their attorneys are engaging in some major backpedaling – Laura Gunderson at the Oregonian reports under this headline “John Kitzhaber controversy: Though he promised answers in ethics review, governor quietly looking to shut down inquiry”