Portland, Ore. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Oregon says no charges will be filed against former 4-time Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and his fiancée Cylvia Hayes for allegedly misusing their positions for personal benefit. Federal investigators were looking into whether Hayes landed private contracts as a consultant while advising Kitzhaber on environmental policies.
Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015, just three months after winning an Oregon record 4th term as governor. While he maintained his innocence, then-Gov. Kitzhaber acknowledged the situation had reached a point of no return after the Oregon Department of Justice opened an investigation.
Kitzhaber’s resignation propelled Secretary of State Kate Brown into the role of governor. She later won the election against Republican Dr. Bud Pierce in 2016 to serve out the remaining two years of Kitzhaber’s term.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service have all been investigating the case. Previously, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that she was temporarily postponing the state’s investigation into the matter, and letting the Federal government take the lead. She said at the appropriate time the state will review the facts and investigate further if necessary.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released the following statement: This decision does not change the fact that the Governor and Cylvia Hayes accepted money from those desiring to purchase influence. It is unfortunate that the recent US Supreme Court decision regarding influence peddling by former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell and his wife has set the bar so high that it is now nearly impossible to bring federal charges in political corruption cases. It is clear that Oregon and the nation still have a long way to go to restore trust in government. However, I’m grateful that Oregonians have placed me in a position to advocate for accountability and transparency in our state government.