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Oregon Ethics Panel To Discuss First Lady's Actions

File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes in December 2013.
Michael Clapp
/
OPB
File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes in December 2013.

Some of the issues that nagged Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in the closing weeks of his re-election campaign have yet to be resolved.

File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes in December 2013.
Credit Michael Clapp / OPB
/
OPB
File photo of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes in December 2013.

But some answers could be forthcoming as the state's Ethics Commission is set to take up the case of Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes Friday.

The panel is meeting for the first time since questions were raised last month about whether Hayes used her title for personal gain. Republicans have accused Hayes of using her relationship with the governor as a way of landing lucrative consulting contracts. They've asked for a full-scale investigation.

Governor Kitzhaber doesn't think that's needed but he has asked the commission to clarify what role the first lady can play in his administration. He insisted everything the first lady did was above board.

"I believe that we took an abundance of caution to ensure that we complied with Oregon's ethics statutes,” Kitzhaber said. “I still believe that we did and of course the Ethics Commission will make a ruling on this."

Kitzhaber said regardless of what the Commission decides, Hayes won't take on any more consulting gigs until Kitzhaber leaves office. But he said she could still have an advisory role in his administration depending on the Ethics Commission's ruling.

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.