|Gov. John Kitzhaber (source: Fox News)|
Via Fox News:
Kitzhaber, a Democrat in his fourth term as governor, has been under attack since revelations that his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, was being paid to lobby on behalf of the clean energy industry while at the same time holding the title of Oregon's first lady and filling the role of unpaid policy adviser in the Kitzhaber administration. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission is investigating whether Hayes' consulting work was a conflict of interest, but the Oregonian says the evidence is clear.KGW reports both how much Cylvia Hayes made from her unscrupulous side work, and also how the "jobs" were lined up:
"Whether through gross inattention or complicity, Kitzhaber has broken faith with Oregonians. His career in Oregon politics is one of great accomplishment, but his past success does not excuse the mess he has made of the office with which Oregonians entrusted him. He is now less a governor than a source of unending distraction," The Oregonian wrote. (emphasis added)
The call for resignation follows an earlier Oregonian report that associates of Kitzhaber helped create jobs for Hayes, work that influenced state policy on energy.And in a move that surprises precisely nobody, Gov. Kitzhaber responds that he's not going anywhere (via the same Fox News article):
Her calendar shows Hayes held the paid posts simultaneously as she served as an unpaid energy adviser inside Kitzhaber's office, The Oregonian reported.
One of the jobs paid her $5,000 for five months after Kitzhaber started his third term. A current Kitzhaber aide, Greg Wolf, was key in creating the position and in suggesting Hayes take the job, the newspaper reported.
The second was a two-year fellowship created by Dan Carol, a Kitzhaber campaign advisor who later joined his staff. It paid $118,000 over two years.
The Oregonian reported that both jobs involved foundations and organizations with direct interest in state policy making.
"I'm not going to consider resigning," said Kitzhaber. "I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it."This whole mess is shocking for several reasons, not the least of which is that Gov. Kitzhaber was re-elected despite these scandalous concerns, but also that The Oregonian editorial staff endorsed his campaign!
If this were happening in any other state, the ironic schadenfreude would be delicious. But because this is my state, I weep for our future.
[UPDATE:] A "prospective petition" has been filed to recall Gov. Kitzhaber, and needs to gather at least 220,000 signatures in 90 days. As petitioner Arin Marcus says, "Two hundred twenty thousand people in Oregon are upset with the governor so it shouldn’t be that difficult." The election was pretty close, so I'd say there's a lot more than that. The hard part will be finding them all and getting them to sign in time.
If Gov. Kitzhaber resigns or is recalled, the Oregon Constitution says he will be succeeded by the Secretary of State, which in this case is Kate Brown, a Portland-area Democrat. I'll admit I don't know too much of her personal political leanings, but: She's a Portland-area Democrat (Strike 1); she's a career politician, holding office for more than half her life (Strike 2); her educational background is in Environmental Conservation, Women's Studies, and law (Strike 3); and she's received various awards and distinctions from groups like Basic Rights Oregon (LGBT-rights advocates), Oregon Commission for Women, the American Mental Health Counselors Association, and the Oregon Psychological Association (Strike 4?). It's a safe bet that gun owners' rights aren't high on her priority list, but maybe we'll get lucky and she won't be a fully-committed anti-gunner [*snerk*]. [/UPDATE]