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Cylvia Hayes’ Contractor Says They ‘Should Not Have Trusted’ Her

Saturday, February 07, 2015

 

“We should not have trusted Ms. Hayes,” says a spokesperson for Demos, a national advocacy group headquartered in New York City. 

Demos paid Cylvia Hayes $25,000 in 2013 to advocate in several states for “genuine progress indicators,” an alternative metric to the GDP, or gross domestic product, the figure widely used to measure the economic health of a country or state. 

Since October of 2014, Hayes’ contract with Demos has drawn scrutiny onto the self-proclaimed Oregon First Lady, and has fueled an ever-expanding number of questions regarding her dual role as a private consultant and government official. The Demos contract specifically brings into question whether or not Hayes advocated for the agenda of an outside group while holding public office. 

“Although we were assured that the contract was reviewed by Oregon counsel, we (Demos) now know that we should not have trusted Ms. Hayes to carefully monitor the balance between her public and private roles,” Demos spokesperson Elektra Gray said in a statement. 

The non-profit refused to release correspondence between Hayes and Demos staff, on the grounds that it is their policy not to release internal documents. 

Demos’ board of trustees is chaired by Amelia Warren Tyagi, the daughter of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The President of Demos is Heather McGhee, a former top staffer in John Edwards' presidential campaign.

When Demos hired Hayes to do advocacy work in both government and non-government arenas, potential conflicts of interest went through Governor Kitzhaber’s legal counsel, Liani Reeves, according to a July 2013 letter of disclosure obtained by GoLocalPDX.  

Any work Hayes did on the GPI in Oregon during the tenure of her contract -- June 1, 2013 to Nov. 30, 2013 -- was not in her contract with Demos, according to Gray. 

“Inasmuch as she and the governor have continued their commitment to new measures for progress in Oregon, it was and is outside the scope of Demos' 6-month contract,” she said. 

That contract was signed by Hayes and Demos Director of Public Policy Lew Daly in May 2013, the same month Hayes filed her first invoice, according to documents obtained by GoLocalPDX. 

Two versions of the contract were drafted. The second version, eliminating any mention of work in Oregon, came after review by legal counsel. 

Under Hayes’ contract, she was to advise Demos on how to push the implementation of the GPI in various states through several measures. 

The terms of the contract included advising state and county leaders in the U.S. on how to implement the GPI, and assisting researchers to develop state-specific programs. 

Hayes described her contract with Demos in a July 30, 2013 letter to Curtis Robinhold, then Kitzhaber’s Chief of Staff. The letter, on which Hayes copied Reeves, disclosed Hayes’ potential conflicts of interest in taking the contract: 

Through my consulting firm, 3E strategies, I have entered into a consulting agreement with Demos. The work is outlined as follows:

Advise Demos on Genuine Progress Initiatives in the U.S. States, including: Gathering information about GPI-related activities in the U.S. States; Developing opportunities for information sharing about best practices; Assisting with initial planning for a national meeting of GPI practitioners; Developing content for GPI national cyber-hub.

Advising stakeholders in the U.S. States, including: assisting researchers and advocates in developing state-specific GPI models; advising state and county leaders on implementation of GPI and related alternative measurement systems 

According to Demos, Hayes was hired as Demos’ GPI spokesperson because of her experience as co-chair of the Oregon Renewable Energy Group and previous work on the GPI in Oregon. 

“As early as 2012, the Governor’s office repeatedly sought our pro bono technical assistance on developing alternative metrics,” Gray said in a statement.

“In 2013, based on Hayes’ environmental expertise and experience with and commitment to GPI, Demos hired her to help advance the idea in other states,” Gray said. 

The Demos contract, along with others Hayes obtained while serving as a policy advisor to the Governor, are part of an ongoing review by the Oregon Ethics Commission, which will release its findings in March. 

 

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