Scandals Pile Up for Oregon's First Couple

The Oregonian calls on John Kitzhaber to resign
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2015 1:31 PM CST
Scandals Pile Up for Oregon's First Couple
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber kisses his fiance, Cylvia Hayes, after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term, Monday, Jan. 12, 2015, in Salem, Ore.   (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

First, Oregon's first lady admitted to an "illegal" previous marriage, then to planning a marijuana grow operation and running a consulting business out of the governor's mansion. Now, Gov. John Kitzhaber's fiancee Cylvia Hayes faces claims that she was paid consulting fees to influence her future husband. The Oregonian finds two Kitzhaber associates, who later joined his administration, connected Hayes with jobs that landed her $143,000, including $118,000 from a clean-energy group from 2011 to 2012, while she served as an unpaid energy adviser to Kitzhaber. She allegedly failed to report the income on tax forms, nor did Kitzhaber account for the money on his ethics filings, the Los Angeles Times reports. While Kitzhaber has said Hayes "will have no policy role and no political role in the administration" for the rest of his term, "Kitzhaber is already enacting policies Hayes was paid to promote," the Oregonian reports.

Dan Carol, the man who got Hayes the gig with group Clean Economy Development Center, was soon after hired by Kitzhaber. He now makes $165,720 a year, almost twice as much as Kitzhaber himself and significantly more than anyone else on his staff, the Willamette Week reports. "No one in the governor's office or the governor ever asked me to do anything for Cylvia," Carol says. "When it fits and the work makes sense, I connect good people, groups and projects together." He adds he was hired because he had previously worked with Kitzhaber and "had the right skills and national connections." The Oregon Government Ethics Commission will vote March 13 on whether to launch an investigation, but the Oregonian has already called on Kitzhaber to resign, noting his "credibility has evaporated." Last week, Kitzhaber said he wouldn't even consider resigning from his post. He added he had "no regrets" about his relationship with Hayes and "the marriage is still on." (More John Kitzhaber stories.)

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