The following are some of the key dates related to the ethics scandal now threatening Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber’s unprecedented fourth term.
Oct. 8, 2014: Willamette Week reports that first lady Cylvia Hayes used taxpayer resources to aid her consulting business.
Oct. 9: Hayes admits during a press conference that she broke federal law in 1997 when she was paid $5,000 for a sham marriage to an 18-year-old Ethiopian man seeking U.S. resident status. The admission cam after the statute of limitations had expired, so Hayes could not be prosecuted for a crime.
Oct. 13: Hayes issues a statement confirming a report that she purchased property in 1997 in Washington state that she and a boyfriend intended to be used for a marijuana growing operation. She said she didn’t participating financially in the deal and said it “never materialized.”
Oct. 23: Dennis Richardson, Kitzhaber’s Republican opponent in the governor’s race, says calls the U.S. attorney to investigate whether Hayes’ consulting work violated the law.
Nov. 7: The Oregon Government Ethics Commission opens a preliminary investigation into Hayes’ consulting work after complaints are filed by Republicans.
Jan. 13, 2015: Kitzhaber and Hayes announce they have hired lawyers to represent them in the Ethics Commission investigation.
Jan. 27: EO Media Group/Pamplin Media Group reporter Hillary Borrud reports that Hayes confirms in email she was paid $118,000 over two years while on a fellowship from the Clean Economy Development Center of Washington, D.C. Hayes said her “primary work was to implement communications strategies promoting clean economy development.” At the time, she was advising the governor on similar topics. The fellowship was funded by a grant from The Energy Foundation of San Francisco. When the fellowship ended, The Energy Foundation arranged to hire Hayes directly in May 2013 with a contract worth up to $40,000.
Jan. 28: The Oregonian reports that the income from Clean Economy Development Center does not appear on the Hayes’ tax returns. She had previously provided copies of the tax returns.
Jan. 30: Kitzhaber holds a press conference in Portland in response the developments since the Pamplin/EO Media Group’s capital bureau reporting on Hayes’ consulting pay. Kitzhaber says he will not resign. He says that Hayes will have no future role in his administration. The governor says he still loves Hayes, who was in Europe visiting friends.
Feb. 4: The Oregonian editor board calls for Kitzhaber’s resignation because he can no longer effectively govern.
Feb. 6: Kitzhaber’s office releases public records that confirming he fired his then-communications director in July after she criticized Hayes in meeting. Nkenge Harmon Johnson had said in November that she was fired because she offended Hayes, but the governor’s office blamed performance issues.
Feb. 9: Kitzhaber asks Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to conduct a “full and independent factual review” of issues surrounding his office’s handling of Hayes’ contracts. Rosenblum responds by telling the governor her office has already launched a launched a criminal investigation.
Feb. 10: A memo surfaces in which Kitzhaber and Hayes argued that the Oregon Government Ethics Commission has no jurisdiction to investigate her.
Feb. 11: Secretary of State Kate Brown abruptly returns from a conference in Washington, D.C., fueling intense speculation that Kitzhaber was about to step down. Brown would become governor if Kitzhaber resigned. Kitzhaber issues a statement saying he has no intention of doing so.
Feb. 12: Secretary of State Brown issues a statement saying she met with Kitzhaber upon her return to Oregon. During the meeting Kitzhaber said he wasn’t going to resign but wanted to discuss transition, according to Brown. “This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation. I informed the governor that I am ready, and my staff will be ready, should he resign.” Three of the state’s top Democratic party leaders: Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Ted Wheeler: called on Kitzhaber to resign. Willamette Week and 101.9 KINK/FM News 101 KXL report that they had obtained documents that the governor’s staff had sought to remove thousands of document from Kitzhaber’s personal email accounts from state servers.
Kitzhaber scandal timeline