Despite the obvious ethical problems, the Oregonian endorsed him for election
Rarely do we get to enjoy a story that covers ethical violations, democrats, green energy and the stupidity of the MSM all in one place. Oregon will do that for you, and that’s why we love it so much here.
“I’m not going to consider resigning,” said Gov. John Kitzhaber at a disastrous press conference held Friday following revelations about the apparently borderless world of public policy and private gain in which he and fiancée Cylvia Hayes exist. “I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it.”
No doubt, the governor does intend to do the job Oregonians gave him, which, simply put, is to pursue the interests of his constituents. That intention, however, is no match for an ugly reality of his own making, whose sordid elements keep surfacing with dispiriting regularity, most recently this week thanks to the work of Nick Budnick and Laura Gunderson of The Oregonian/OregonLive. Two people involved in Kitzhaber’s 2010 campaign helped Hayes find paid work with groups interested in Oregon policy, Budnick and Gunderson reported. Both have landed in Kitzhaber’s administration.
More ugliness may surface, but it should be clear by now to Kitzhaber that his credibility has evaporated to such a degree that he can no longer serve effectively as governor. If he wants to serve his constituents he should resign.
To recite every reported instance in which Hayes, ostensibly under Kitzhaber’s watchful eye, has used public resources, including public employee time and her “first lady” title, in pursuit of professional gain would require far more space than we have here and, besides, repeat what most readers already know. Suffice it to say there’s a pattern, and the person who bears the responsibility for allowing it to form and persist is Kitzhaber, who should know better. After all, as he pointed out during Friday’s press conference, he’s been serving in public office on and off since the 1970s.
Consider, instead, what Oregonians have learned during only the last couple of weeks. First, Hayes received a combined $118,000 in 2011 and 2012 through the Washington, D.C.-based Clean Economy Development Center even as she served as an unpaid energy adviser to Kitzhaber. This income is not fully accounted for on tax forms Hayes provided to The Oregonian/OregonLive. Neither has the governor fully accounted for the money in ethics filings.
A big chunk of Hayes’ fellowship money, $75,000, came from the San Francisco-based Energy Foundation, a nonprofit that funds clean-energy initiatives such as the low carbon fuel standard. Implementing a low carbon fuel standard is a priority for both Kitzhaber and Democratic leaders in the Legislature. The session’s first public hearing on a bill to that end happened on Monday.
How did Hayes end up with a fellowship funded by an organization with an interest in clean-energy policy in Oregon? A Kitzhaber campaign adviser, Dan Carol, helped arrange the funding following Kitzhaber’s election in 2010, Budnick and Gunderson reported. Carol subsequently landed a position within the Kitzhaber administration. That position, Willamette Week has reported, pays more than $165,000, making Carol Kitzhaber’s highest-paid aide.
Who knew following the trail of “clean energy” money could make you feel so dirty?
Another campaign adviser, Greg Wolf, helped land Hayes a position with the Rural Development Initiatives. The nonprofit, Budnick and Gunderson reported, wanted Hayes to help raise money for a clean economy project – including tens of thousands for which Kitzhaber’s support was needed. Wolf, like Carol, later secured a position in Kitzhaber’s administration.
Is it any wonder Kitzhaber now finds himself stranded in an ethical swamp? To understand the full extent of his predicament, consider his inability to answer one simple question during his press conference Friday: Is Hayes a member of your household? He answered this question in the affirmative on multiple occasions in ethics filings. But on Friday, following the discovery of apparently unreported fellowship income, he said, “I have no idea whether she is ‘legally’ a member of my household.”
The governor has not yet quibbled about the meaning of “is,” but Friday’s evasions were almost Clintonian.
More at the link, of course. Aside from the clean energy thievery, prior to the election is came out that Kitzhaber’s live-in partner, Hayes, had previously married a man for money. He wanted citizenship; she wanted money. They never lived together and got a formal divorce after he received US citizenship. The Oregonian forgave that and endorsed Kitzhaber anyway.
Aside from the relentless rain, Oregon is a fun place.