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Oregon Ethics Commission Is Looking Into Governor, First Lady

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission meets in Salem.
Chris Lehman
/
Northwest News Network
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission meets in Salem.

Oregon's Ethics Commission is officially looking into actions taken by Governor John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes.

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission meets in Salem.
Credit Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network
/
Northwest News Network
The Oregon Government Ethics Commission meets in Salem.

The panel met Friday for the first time since questions were raised last month about whether Hayes used her title for personal gain.

Ethics commissioners said they’ve launched a preliminary investigation into whether Hayes used her relationship with the governor as a way of landing lucrative clean energy consulting contracts. Republicans filed a complaint in October. Governor John Kitzhaber has said his office took steps to ensure that Hayes wasn't overstepping her bounds.

The commission will decide before the end of February whether to proceed with a full-scale investigation. That could last another six months and could result in fines.

Commission members and staff aren't allowed to comment on current investigations.

Kitzhaber was re-elected to another four-year term this week. He said regardless of the commission's ruling, Hayes won't take on any new consulting gigs while he remains in office.

The commission is not taking up any issues related to Hayes’ 1997 fraudulent marriage to an 18-year-old immigrant who needed a green card.

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.