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Kitzhaber Will Not Consider Resignation, Regardless of Ethics Findings

Saturday, January 31, 2015

 

Governor John Kitzhaber addressed media Friday, Jan. 30 in Portland. Photo: Joanna Evoniuk

In an ashen-faced media address Friday morning, Governor John Kitzhaber said he will not consider resigning, regardless of the findings of a pending ethics review. 

The Governor, who was peppered with questions regarding Oregon "First Lady" Cylvia Hayes, refused to answer any questions about her taxes, or her possible conflicts of interests. Kitzhaber also denied having any knowledge that he needed to report $118,000 worth of contracts on Statements of Economic Interests (SEI).  

Slideshow Below: What Kitzhaber Said at His Cylvia Hayes Press Conference

When asked if he would consider resigning if he was found guilty of a state ethics violation, the Governor said “Of course not.”

“I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it,” he said. 

As the press conference got under way, he said that he has set a "high ethical bar" for himself and that only one ethics complaint was filed against him in the closing days of his last political campaign. The Governor's office supplied five years worth of SEIs, dating back to 2010.

The Governor said he has not been blinded by love, and that his marriage to Cylvia Hayes is still on.  “I am in love,” the Governor said. “I do not believe I have been blinded by love, I am “eyes wide open.”

"In my 25 years covering politics, I have never been in a news conference with that much intensity and that many pointed questions asked of a Governor," said veteran KGW reporter Pat Dorris. 

 

Related Slideshow: What Governor Kitzhaber Said at His Jan. Cylvia Hayes Press Conference

Governor John Kitzhaber held a press conference on Jan. 30, 2015, where he fielded questions surrounding his fiancé and Oregon’s “First Lady” Cylvia Hayes. 

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Kitzhaber told media Friday, Jan. 30 he would not consider resigning. 

“Of course not,” he said. “I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it.”

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The Governor said he did not see any problem in hiring Ball Janik, a firm that lobbies for Oregon in Washington, D.C., to defend him and Cylvia Hayes against allegations that include lobbying. 

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Kitzhaber said he has not been contacted by the FBI.

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The Governor said he did not instruct his attorney Leanni Reaves to loosen ethics guidelines for Cylvia Hayes. 

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“Our intention has always been to try to navigate this undefined area of First Lady,” Kitzhaber said during the press conference. 

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The Governor does not believe that an independent investigation is necessary, when asked if a body other than the ethics commission appointed by him should investigate. 

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When asked why the Governor did not keep Cylvia Hayes physically out of her office, he answered, “We tried to draw that line.” 

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“I am in love,” the Governor said. "I do not believe I have been blinded by love, I am 'eyes wide open.'”

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“I have no idea whether she [Cylvia] is legally a member of my household.”

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Cylvia Hayes is in Sweden visiting friends, the Governor said. 

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The Governor at one point compared himself to controversial Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. 

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The Governor said he is not trying to reach a deal with the ethics commission. 

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The Governor does not believe that an independent investigation is necessary, when asked if a body other than the ethics commission appointed by him should investigate. 

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“The government ethics commission has a process and a sanction process. We will embrace that,” Kitzhaber said. “Well the Government ethics commission has a process and has a series of sanctions that it can take and we will obviously and have been complying and cooperating fully with the commission and we will embrace whatever decisions and sanctions they feel is appropriate."

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“Cylvia and I have a number of areas of common interest, climate change being one, low carbon fuels being one,” Kitzhaber said. "The fact that we have a convergence of intents does not seem to me to apply that if those issues apply in my administration that influence has been exerted."

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Cylvia Hayes will play no role in the Governor’s office for the next four years, according to Kitzhaber.

 
 

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