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Gov. Calls in Ethics Commission Over Role Hayes Played in Government

Monday, October 13, 2014


Governor John Kitzhaber has requested an ethics investigation into the dual role his fiancée has played as a political consultant and political advocate within his own office.

On Monday, Governor John Kitzhaber sent a letter, through his General Counsel Liani Reeves, to the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, asking for its opinion on the role his long-time partner Cylvia Hayes has played in the government, according to ethics commission director Ron Bersin.

"Recent media coverage has raised questions on the separation of Cylvia Hales's private consulting work from her role as the First Lady of Oregon," Reeves states in the letter. "Given the concerns... we are requesting the Commission to provide a formal opinion on the First Lady's role, the private business activity conducted by Cylvia Hayes, and the Governor's Office activities with respect to keeping the roles separate and transparent."

Link to full letter: Here

“He’s asking for the commission’s opinion on the action,” Bersin said of the Governor's request. “It’s not exactly an investigation.”

Last week, 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.

Hayes said at a press conference last week that she denied all assertions of ethical improprieties made by the paper. At a Friday debate between himself and his Republican gubernatorial challenger Dennis Richardson, Kitzhaber also denied the claims that Hayes had been involved in wrongdoing.

Bersin said the commission had 60 days to respond to the Kitzhaber’s request.

As controversy around both Hayes' role at the Governor’s office and her confession of a 17-year-old sham marriage continue, political experts have warned that Kitzhaber’s almost assured reelection in November may be at risk.

The Richardson campaign was quick to pounce on Monday's news.

“This is an issue that should have been reviewed months, if not years ago," said Richardon spokeswoman Meredith Glacken "It’s odd that Governor Kitzhaber and his staff spent all of last week shielding his administration from an investigation, only to change course this week.  We hope that the Oregon Ethics Commission takes this probe seriously, however many of their appointees are Kitzhaber allies. Our campaign is keeping all of our options open as to whether other agencies, such as the U.S. Attorney's Office, would be more apt to conduct a truly independent review."


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