by NW Spotlight
OK, this is just getting overwhelming. There were already 4 different federal investigations into the quarter of a billion dollars wasted on the Cover Oregon disaster, and now there are more federal and state investigations as part of the massive criminal public corruption probe into former Gov. John Kitzhaber and former First Lady Cylvia Hayes!
Then new email revelations this week brought Patricia McCaig back into the news. McCaig, “a secretive campaign consultant who liked to call herself the Princess of Darkness,” ran Kitzhaber’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Once elected, “Kitzhaber made her his top adviser on the Columbia River Crossing.” While serving as Kitzhaber’s adviser, McCaig also worked for the CRC’s top contractor and she “eventually collected $553,000 for her work on the CRC, which was never built.”
In Kitzhaber’s 2014 campaign, McCaig was back again. Nigel Jaquiss at Willamette Week reported this week “In August 2014, WW reported that McCaig was effectively running Kitzhaber’s re-election campaign and that Kitzhaber was not reporting her contributions. On Sept. 12, Kitzhaber emailed McCaig from the Pendleton Round-Up. He joked about that lack of transparency.” WW also reported “During this time, McCaig wasn’t billing Kitzhaber’s campaign. That enabled Kitzhaber not to disclose her work on his campaign finance reports, as required by law.”
What happened when those campaign law violations were investigated?
Fellow Democrat Kate Brown, Oregon Secretary of State at the time, found that there was “No need to report McCaig’s in-kind political work.” That’s a decision that may come back to haunt Kate Brown, especially given all the new information coming out in the emails Kitzhaber tried to have deleted. They didn’t get deleted, though, because several state employees thought it was wrong to get rid of evidence. Kate Brown’s response as new governor – punish the whistle blowers who wouldn’t delete the emails!
Then there’s former Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes. Her skeletons started tumbling out of the closet last October when it was revealed that she had been paid $5,000 to marry an Ethiopian student for purposes of immigration fraud, a felony. That was followed by news that she had bought property on the Canadian border for an illegal marijuana grow operation in the past. Next came allegations that she had been using her role as a public official in the governor’s office to personally profit her private consulting business – allegations which ultimately led to Kitzhaber’s resignation. Hayes is also being investigated by the IRS for possible tax fraud for unreported income from a nonprofit that advocates for a “happiness index” instead of traditional economic measures like GDP.
Mind you, this isn’t the first “ethically challenged” behavior from Cylvia Hayes. Back in 2011 there were allegations that the Oregon Department of Energy improperly steered business to Cylvia Hayes’ environmental consulting company. She was conveniently cleared of wrongdoing by the Democratic powers that be.
More recently, there have been additional revelations that Cylvia Hayes bilked nearly $40K from a former PSU professor who was 46 years older than her, and that in 2001 she faced theft allegations involving a Central Oregon charity – which has made national news.
So on top of a shady First Lady, there have been attempts to delete emails that were evidence, punishment of the state workers who wouldn’t delete the evidence, and emails that show that blaming Oracle for the Cover Oregon disaster was just a calculated political move to distract voters and get Kitzhaber re-elected.
And throughout all these scandals, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbloom, Oregon’s top law enforcement official, was curiously absent. Maybe Oregon Democrats think it’s bad form to investigate fellow Democrats.
Whew! Who can keep up?
Well, we’ve developed a graphic to try to help – we hope it will make navigating all the bigger scandals and investigations a little bit easier.
Click here for a PDF of the graphic