Oregon governor, fiancée, face sweeping federal probe


Federal prosecutors are investigating Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon and his fiancée in connection with the influence-peddling scandal that has already cost Kitzhaber his job.

The local U.S. Attorney’s delivered a subpoena to the state’s Department of Administrative Services Friday, which was obtained by The Oregonian newspaper.

The subpoena came hours after Kitzhaber, a Democrat, announced he’ll resign effective February 18. Kitzhaber denied breaking any laws and blamed what he called an “escalating media frenzy” for forcing him from office.

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Prosecutors demanded any state records mentioning Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Sylvia Hayes, her clean energy consulting business, or her role in the administration, as well as her personal tax returns.

Numerous recent reports have suggested that the lines between Hayes’s consulting firm, her role as a policy adviser to the governor, and her first lady role were often blurred or non-existent. Among other revelations, a Washington D.C. based energy group, the Clean Energy Development Center (CEDC) reportedly paid Hayes while she was advising Kitzhaber on energy policy. And two longtime Kitzhaber associates reportedly found paid jobs for Hayes, also while she was helping to set energy policy for the state.

The subpoena specifically asks for all correspondence with Jeff King, who ran CEDC. Hayes had a two-year fellowship there for which she was paid $118,000. In 2012, Hayes was paid $88,000 by the group, but listed only $27,000 in business income, according to earlier reports.

The Department of Administrative Services said it would cooperate with the subpoena.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is pursuing her own criminal investigation of Kitzhaber, 67, and Hayes, 49.

Kitzhaber will be replaced in office by Secretary of State Kate Brown, a Democrat. Brown, who identifies as bisexual, will become the first openly LGBT sitting governor in the nation.

John Kitzhaber, Justice Department and Oregon

Oregon governor, fiancée, face sweeping federal probe