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Richardson Asks For Federal Investigation Of Kitzhaber

Oregon gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson
Campaign photo
Oregon gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson

The Republican running for governor in Oregon has asked for a federal criminal investigation into his opponent.

Oregon gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson
Credit Campaign photo
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Campaign photo
Oregon gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson

Dennis Richardson made the request Thursday in a letter to the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland. The campaign for Richardson's general election opponent dismisses the request as a waste of time.

Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber has come under fire for allegedly looking the other way while his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, secured lucrative consulting gigs purportedly by using her role of first lady.

Kitzhaber has asked the Oregon Ethics Commission to clarify what Hayes can and cannot do. And he said Hayes won't play an advisory role in his administration while everything is sorted out.

That's not good enough for Richardson. He told reporters in a conference call that he's asking the federal government to investigate whether Kitzhaber and Hayes used their public roles for private financial gain.

"This is about open, transparent and accountable government,” Richardson said. “No one in Oregon should be above the law."

A spokeswoman for the Kitzhaber campaign dismissed the announcement as, "an obvious political stunt."

It's unlikely the U.S. Attorney's office would agree to an investigation before next month's election.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.