Kitzhaber asks the Attorney General for an independent review
In the most recent chain of events in the Governor John Kitzhaber drama, most of which surrounds alleged ethics violations of Kitzhaber’s fiancée Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, via letter, for an independent review of his office’s handling’s of Hayes’ contracts.
Rosenblum responded that an investigation has already been opened, the Oregonian reports.
Her response reads:
“Thank you for your letter. My office has already opened an investigation into this matter. I appreciate your intent to cooperate fully.”
Rosenblum also released a statement to the Oregonian on Feb. 5, saying “Recent allegations relating to Governor Kitzhaber and Ms. Hayes are very serious – and troubling. My office is considering all of our legal options to ensure that we are best serving the state.”
On Friday, both the campaign manager Charlie Pearce and campaign attorney Jacob Daniels for Republican Dennis Richardson’s failed 2014 run for governor against Kitzhaber, submitted a petition for the Governor’s recall to the Secretary of State.
In the petition they cited Hayes’ use of the governor mansion for personal profit, a trip to Bhutan that allegedly benefited them financially and the allowance of consultants working for Kitzhaber’s campaign to arrange organizations with businesses for personal gain.
“We feel as though the governor has lost the confidence of the people of Oregon,” Daniels, who graduated from the University of Oregon in 2007, said on Friday.
In order for a petition like this to pass it needs the signatures of 220,000 people, 15 percent of registered Oregon voters. On Friday, Daniels was optimistic that they would reach this goal.
However, Secretary of State Kate Brown has halted this petition, and another asking for the same thing, both were submitted last week. According to Oregon law, a governor has to have the chance to serve the state for six months before they can be recalled.
The petitions will now have to wait until June of 2015, Brown ruled, even though this is not Kitzhaber’s first term in office.
Though the petitions are on hold for the moment, Kitzhaber isn’t out of the woods just yet.
Back during the midterm elections in November, a preliminary investigation by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, began. It centered on Hayes’ consulting business, where many of the allegations stem from.
“As someone who worked closely with the Richardson campaign, he (Kitzhaber) should not have made it out of the election. The clear corruption, in particular the Cylvia Hayes debacle on top of the Cover Oregon disaster, makes this man clearly unfit to be Governor of this state in my eyes, ” UO student and President of the UO College Republicans Joseph Lewis, said. Lewis worked on the Richardson campaign doing phone banking and canvassing.
Others remain somewhat optimistic for Kitzhaber’s future as Oregon’s governor.
“We should let the Attorney General do her job and carry out the review requested by the Governor. In the mean time, let’s focus on helping Oregon families this legislative session,” UO student and President of the UO College Democrats Celine Swenson-Harris said. “I believe that it is absurd to call for anyone’s resignation before a full review of the facts has taken place.”
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