Kitzhaber says he's not resigning

Gov. John Kitzhaber, left, and Secretary of State Kate Brown
Gov. John Kitzhaber, left, and Secretary of State Kate Brown

Associated Press

SALEM - Oregon's governor said Wednesday that he won't resign over ethics allegations against his fiancee, a statement aimed at quashing rampant speculation he was on his way out.

Gov. John Kitzhaber's future again came into question after the state's second in command, Secretary of State Kate Brown, made an abrupt return from a conference in Washington, D.C.

Newspaper editorial boards and Republican political operatives have been criticizing the Democratic governor and calling for him to leave office over allegations that Cylvia Hayes used his office to land contracts for her consulting business. She's accused of advocating policies that she was paid to promote.

“Let me be as clear as I was last week, that I have no intention of resigning as Governor of the state of Oregon,” Kitzaber said in a statement. “I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so.”

It remains unclear why Brown made an early exit from the National Association of Secretaries of State conference. Brown serves as the organization's president.

Hayes has been under increasing scrutiny since October, when a series of reports chronicled her work for organizations with an interest in Oregon public policy, which came as she served as an unpaid adviser in the governor's office.

The focus led Hayes to reveal that she accepted about $5,000 to illegally marry an immigrant seeking immigration benefits in the 1990s. Later, she acknowledged purchasing a remote property with the intent to illegally grow marijuana.

Kitzhaber, meanwhile, has denied wrongdoing, saying he and Hayes took measures to avoid conflicts of interest. He has said a state ethics panel will decide whether they had succeeded. He also has said he wouldn't step down.

For her part, Hayes has not publicly addressed the allegations of ethics violations.

Kitzhaber was re-elected by a wide margin in November, easily defeating Republican state Rep. Dennis Richardson.

Richardson pounded Kitzhaber over the Hayes scandal during the campaign, and two of his advisers recently took steps to recall the governor.

“I hope this recall effort isn't necessary and Gov. Kitzhaber steps down and saves the people of Oregon any more trouble,” former Richardson campaign manager Charlie Pearce said last week.

Also, the state's attorney general has opened a criminal investigation. “Recent allegations relating to Gov. Kitzhaber and Ms. Hayes are very serious — and troubling,” Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a recent statement. “My office is considering all of our legal options to ensure that we are best serving the state.”

A fiercely private person, Kitzhaber has been forced to answer embarrassing and personal questions about his relationship. In response to questions at the news conference last week, Kitzhaber told reporters that he's in love with Hayes, but he's not blinded by it.

Some state leaders from his party have openly criticized him. Others have notably avoided defending him.

“The governor is facing serious challenges and he's hurting,” Democratic Senate President Peter Courtney of Salem, a longtime legislator who has worked with Kitzhaber for decades, said last week. “I want to be fair. I want to be compassionate. I want to do my job the best I can. I will not speculate on his future.”


David Bates

I was hoping he'd resign, frankly. I have Kitzhaber Fatigue, and this fiasco is only going to get worse. Brace yourselves for weeks, possibly months of bunker mentality and drip, drip, drip.

Don Dix

Where is the call from his party to stop the bleeding? There is no way Kitz can accomplish anything this term ( maybe that would be a good thing ). Having majorities in both sides of the legislature, so far, not one member of that majority has the cajones to speak out! Could it be that there is enough dirt scattered that everyone has a smudge or two, hence, being reluctant to go down with the gov.?

Is this the government that the Ds celebrated so happily just 3 months ago? It was all falling into place so nicely -- Oregon was firmly in control, and the progressive agenda was ahead full steam! How's that vision working out for you now?

E.J. Farrar

How's that working? Quite well, actually. Kate Brown is far more progressive than Kitz. Her transition to power should be smooth and her reelection in two years a lock.

Don Dix

Are you gloating, Mr. Farrar? Your golden boy is facing ethical and criminal investigatios and yet it's party politics ahead full steam! You obviously voted for him, but now the more you can distance yourself the better!

You state, "Her transition to power should be smooth and her reelection in two years a lock".
Wow! Without even knowing if she can handle the job, your 2016 vote is already cast. How did you get that ballot so early? You gonna' be out of the state?

'transition to power' -- really? I thought this was an issue about replacing the governor! Silly me!

Thanks for allowing the public to see inside the mindset of the far left, where apparently people and their plight don't really matter, it's all about the cause! ( where's that phony liberal compassion so prevalent every other November? ). Your giddiness exposes everything that is disgusting about party politics! Thanks again!


It seems there are a few ethical issues for Brown that received the same level of scrutiny as kitzhaber.
Campaign funds used for personal reasons,Comcast funds----

Don Dix

The Comcast 'ghost letter' may have a life, maybe not.

However, a look at contributions may speak the loudest. Her top contributor, Too Extreme for Oregon, has ponied up $177K so far! From this angle, the name pretty much details the agenda!

Don't you just love blatant, in-your-face, partisan politics?

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