When Will Oregon See Justice in the Kitzhaber Scandal?

Right From the Start

Right From the Start

The August 21, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal carried a “squib note:”

“A federal appeals court on Thursday declined to allow former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell to remain free while he appeals his public-corruption convictions to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“The decision means Mr. McDonnell will probably have to report to prison within the next weeks.

“Mr. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, were convicted of doing favors for a wealthy businessman in exchange for more than $165,000 in gifts and loans.

“The former governor was sentenced to two years in prison; his wife to one year and one day. They have remained free on bond while they pursued separate appeals in the Fourth U.S, Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Mr. McDonnell was a Republican. His indictment and conviction were secured under the Democrat administration of President Barack Obama and the highly partisan former Attorney General Eric Holder (D). I do not point this out to suggest that Mr. McDonnell was anything but guilty but rather to contrast it with what follows.

On January 12, 2015, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) was inaugurated to an unprecedented fourth term as governor of Oregon. Standing next to him was his current live-in girl friend, Cynthia Hayes, who he had previously designated as his “first lady.” Exactly one month later, on February 12, 2015, Mr. Kitzhaber announced his resignation to be effective six days later on February 18. On the same day as his announcement, it was reported that a federal grand jury had been seated to investigate a variety of charges, including public corruption, influence peddling and bribery.

Among the allegations being investigated is that Mr. Kitzhaber crafted Oregon environmental policy to align it with policies for which Ms. Hayes was being paid by environmental groups to develop and investigate. Ms. Hayes was afforded considerable policy authority on topics, including environmental policy, during Mr. Kitzhaber’s third gubernatorial term and that authority carried over into his nascent, albeit, abbreviated fourth term. Indeed, an email dated August 17, 2011, to his then chief of staff Curtis Robinhold, Mr. Kitzhaber added the following notes to a list of “protocols” prepared by Mr. Robinhold, to emphasize the authority of Ms. Hayes:

J.K. Comment: This all makes sense from the standpoint of lines communication – but it does not speak to how Cylvia plays a role in policy development and advocacy. And this brings us to her fourth focus area – the Clean Economy – which is a priority of the Governor’s Office. . .

“One important point is that Cylvia needs to be advocating the same clean economy policy in her role/spokesperson/advocate for the Governor’s Office and her role as a Clean Economy Fellow. There cannot be any daylight between them. But this is another reason why she needs a role in developing the policy itself.”

Clean Economy is the Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC) which is the environmental coalition of “green energy” businesses that have made millions off of government largesse that subsidizes alternative energy production such as wind and solar generation. Mr. Kitzhaber steered CEDC to Ms. Hayes which in turn provided her with a consulting contract (Clean Economy Fellow) that was paying Ms. Hayes tens of thousands of dollars.

If one were really stupid, or a liberal apologist, (s)he might suggest that Mr. Kitzhaber was suggesting that Ms. Hayes convince CEDC to adopt the Kitzhaber administrations “clean economy” agenda. However, Mr. Kitzhaber’s response to Mr. Robinhold’s memo clearly indicated that his administration lacked such an agenda:

“Resolving this is complicated by the fact that we do not yet have a clear policy on the clean economy: and that this area has an overlap between energy, natural resources, the environment and economic development.” (Emphasis supplied)

Mr. Kitzhaber was, in fact, demanding that his administration’s clean economy policy be aligned with the policy advocated by CEDC as enunciated by Ms. Hayes in her paid role as a Clean Economy Fellow.

This would appear to be a clear indication that Mr. Kitzhaber and his paramour Ms. Hayes were doing favors for wealthy businessmen in exchange for payments to and employment of Ms. Hayes – exactly the same situation that led to the conviction and sentencing of Mr. McDonnell. So what differentiates this from the investigation, indictment, and conviction of Mr. McDonnell?

Well, Mr. McDonnell is a Republican. On the other hand, Mr. Kitzhaber is a Democrat, and more importantly, an FOB (friend of Barack). Oregon has been dominated by a series of Democrat governors beginning with Gov. Neil Goldschmidt (who subsequently admitted serially raping a child of fourteen over a period of three years) for over thirty years. As I noted in a column published February 25 of this year:

“But this is really much more. Mr. Kitzhaber is the past and current scion of a liberal Democrat machine that had its roots in the administration of former Gov. Neil Goldschmidt (D). It has governed Oregon unchecked for almost three decades. It has so completely overwhelmed the political process that now every statewide office and all but one congressional office is held by Democrats – all of whom owe their nominations, financing and elections to the same Democrat machine. Its base is in Portland where it controls absolutely the Portland city and Multnomah County governments.

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“While Mr. Kitzhaber is toast and no one in power actually gives a damn about Ms. Hayes (she was always more interloper than insider), the rest of the machine needs protection – and protection they will get.

“The narrative has already been decided. Here is the headline: Old John Kitzhaber Seduced by a Gold Digger Twenty Years his Junior and Blind to her Machinations is Now Alone and Disgraced.

“The investigation will continue but primarily focused on Ms. Hayes. In the end she will go to jail. In the end Mr. Kitzhaber will not – he will be forgiven for falling to Ms. Hayes’ seduction. He will be deemed to have suffered enough by losing his high office and “the love of his life” (actually the third “love of his life”). At worst, Mr. Kitzhaber will be allowed to plead guilty to some form of public corruption for which he will receive a sentence of deferred prosecution resulting in dismissal of the charges upon completion of the deferment period.”

Six months have passed since Mr. Kitzhaber’s resignation and the launch of the grand jury and still nothing.

Don’t hold your breath.