Corrupt Oregon: Kitzhaber scandal finds closure… Kind of.
In perfect agreement this morning, the Oregon Government Ethics Commission voted against former Governor John Kitzhaber stating that he “…violated state ethics law and used his office for personal gain”.
So you mean the most voted for Governor in Oregon history (four terms) was a crook the whole time or was it not actually his fault?
We all remember the shrouded story of Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber’s fiancee and his resignation that seemed to happen all so fast. If you don’t remember Cylvia Hayes entered into Kitzhaber’s life in 2002 when he was still married to Sharon LaCroix. One year later in 2003, John and Sharon separated and before you could say “scandalous” Sylvia and Kitzhaber were in a full-fledged relationship.
Ms. Hayes had allegedly sought out Kitzhaber for guidance in her political career. She was quickly able to turn John from her teacher into her paramour. Shortly after, she moved into Kitzhaber’s 10,000 sqft mansion and was running THREE Oregon “environmental consulting firms”….ha.
Things were looking great for Cylvia, until Willamette Weekly of all publications broke a doozy of a story titled “First Lady Inc.” detailing the scandal. Simply put Cylvia was extremely involved in Kitzhaber’s office being considered a public official. All the while, she also acted as a private consultant and pushed very hard for certain energy and economic policies. Certain policies that certain private advocacy groups paid her big money to push. Something to the tune of a couple hundred grand.
It was the perfect storm, Kitzhaber flubbed the Cover Oregon debacle costing taxpayers $250 million. He wasted $175 million on “consultants” for a Columbia River Crossing bridge. No plans were ever produced. His school reform legislation was failing and then this.
Three years later we are finally getting some closure on this scandal.
Ethics Commission Chair Alison Kean said “To not hold a former governor with so much experience to a standard that every other employee is held to because he decided it was easier to go along with his fiancee’s demands than his staff’s concerns, that would be a disservice to this state and a disservice to why we are here.”
Kitzhaber’s response was that he never intentionally used his office for personal gain. The situation happening with his fiancee was unbenounced to him, and why after 26 years of a clean record would he ruin it all of a sudden?
“My concern is the assault on my integrity,” Kitzhaber said. “That means more to me than you will ever know.”
He could face up to $50,000 in fines. Is that enough?
The story will be updated as news breaks.