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GOP Files Ethics Complaint Against Kitzhaber, Hayes

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Gov. John Kitzhaber

The Oregon Republican Party has filed an ethics complaint against Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancee Cylvia Hayes.

The complaint, filed by the ORP Wednesday night against Kitzhaber, Hayes and the governor's unpaid advisor Patricia McCaig, claims a “conflict of interest transactions, employment relationships, benefits from public contracts, usage of public buildings and staff for personal financial gain and business." 

The filing comes after the Willamette Week published an expose on Hayes, accusing her of ethics violations and stating that she has profited as a political consultant due to the access she has as the governor's fiancée.

The complaint could result in a review of Kitzhaber and Hayes depending on the determination of the ethics commission, officials have said. 

"The scope of the use of public office for personal gain, whether it was for members of his household or members of his advisory staff, appears to be showing just the tip of the iceberg with respect to some of these contracts," the complaint alleges. 

This comes on the heels of Kitzhaber requesting the ethics commission provide an opinion on whether Hayes is a public official and subject to the ethics laws. GOP officials say Kitzhaber's request for an opinion is not enough and they are calling for an investigation. The GOP claims Kitzhaber himself and Hayes should be investigated for her alleged use of the governor's office for personal gain.

Kitzhaber's office released the following statement in response to the complaints: 

"Earlier this week, the Governor directed staff to ask the Oregon Government Ethics Commission for an opinion related to recent questions on Cylvia Hayes's role in the Governor's Office and to confirm the office’s protocols and procedures related to potential conflicts of interest. The Governor believes the Ethics Commission is the appropriate venue for evaluating questions on conflicts of interest or any other ethical violations, and he welcomes any review and is confident the Commission will give his request and the requests of others a fair and thorough evaluation." 

The complaint also mentions Patricia McCaig, an unpaid political adviser to Gov. John Kitzhaber’s campaign who was also a lobbyist for the Columbia River Crossing project. The GOP has raised questions about McCaig's role and a possible conflict of interest. 


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