There appears to be no end to the shady, corrupt behavior of disgraced former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and fiancé Cylvia Hayes. The latest reports detail law enforcement halting a “dump-run” made by Kitzhaber and fiancé Cylvia Hayes—the couple was spotted dumping trash at a landfill, police intervened.
As Shift reported extensively, a scandal involving Kitzhaber, Hayes and extreme “green” organizations led to the governor’s resignation and the launch of criminal investigations. Both the FBI and IRS have launched investigations in to the alleged criminal activities of Kitzhaber and Hayes. The State of Oregon has temporarily paused its criminal investigation in light of the on-going federal inquiries. Mere weeks in to the investigations, Kitzhaber and Hayes have reverted back to shady and pathetic behavior. The attempts Kitzhaber and Hayes have already made to block and obstruct the ongoing federal investigations have been truly appalling, even laughable if the situation were not so serious.
In a Hillary Clinton-esque move, reports exposed that Kitzhaber’s staff attempted to destroy thousands of emails by claiming they were “private.” Concerns were raised after public records revealed staff members requested all emails sent and received via Kitzhaber’s personal Gmail account be “removed” from the state servers. The request for the emails’ destruction “came while Kitzhaber was promising to be open and honest with Oregonians about the allegations against him and Hayes.” State workers believed the request to be an “unusual” (read: pathetic) effort to delete them. They refused to comply with the request. A Kitzhaber spokesperson promised staff member did not intend to destroy the emails, only “obtain and review them to see which should be considered government records.” Given the Kitzhaber administration’s almost unbelievable record of lies and deceit, the excuse is yet another example of Oregon Democrats insulting the intelligence of Oregonians.
But, that’s not where the insult to Oregonians ends. Last week, Hayes filed a lawsuit against The Oregonian/OregonLive in an attempt to block the release of work-related emails she sent from her personal accounts. She asserted her constitutional right against self-incrimination. Previously, Marion County Circuit Court ordered her to turn over the emails to the news organization. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum also ruled that Hayes was a public official and therefore subject to the Oregon Public Records Law. According to the Oregonian, Hayes’ lawsuit is the only “legal remedy” open to her to escape complying with the orders. Hayes and her lawyers insist that handing over the emails would “violate her Fifth Amendment” rights. They also argue releasing the emails would violate her right to privacy. Legal experts weighing in on the matter have expressed skepticism that a judge would rule in Hayes’ favor. The tragedy is that Hayes and Kitzhaber had no regard to the rights of hardworking Oregonians they sought to exploit for personal financial benefit while occupying positions of public trust.
Adding insult to injury, Kitzhaber and staff appear to be taking advantage of a long-standing state policy that entitles them to $35,000 in taxpayer-funded assistance for legal fees. The Oregonian recently reported that state taxpayers “could be on the hook for legal fees to as many as 18 current and former state employees including former Gov. John Kitzhaber” caught in the scandal. The state must “cover as much as $35,000 in attorney fees for each employee who qualifies for access to a special state program in criminal cases.” If the state employee is convicted or enters a plea bargain, the state is entitled to recover all payments. The Oregonian,
“Already, the state has received applications for Sean McGuire, hired by the state at Kitzhaber’s direction to work on a project, the Genuine Progress Indicator, that Hayes was paid to promote. Applications were also received for two state employees caught up in an effort by Kitzhaber staff to take control of his emails and delete them from state archives.
“Five days after Kitzhaber announced he would resign, his chief of staff, Mike Bonetto, at 5:02p.m on Feb. 17, recommended to state authorities that legal coverage be provided to the former governor, Bonetto, Kitzhaber’s General Counsel Liani Reeves and 12 other current and former staff.
“The only name not on the list? Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber’s fiancée. She appears eligible, however, because the state’s policy on providing attorney fees appears to apply to volunteers, not just state employees.”
It’s unclear when Oregonians can expect some relief from the corruption that has tainted their state’s highest office. In a move many critics labeled an act of retaliation, replacement Democrat Gov. Kate Brown’s administration “requested the Oregon State Police (OSP) launch a criminal investigation into an “information breach” of Kitzhaber’s emails to find the source of the leak.” Oregon’s chief operating officer, Michael Jordan (also a Democrat), requested the investigation. Jordan has specifically targeted two state employees with suspensions. The apparent retaliation comes despite the fact that Oregon’s whistleblower law protects those who expose “…A violation of any federal or state law, rule or regulation by the state, agency or political subdivision … Mismanagement, gross waste of funds or abuse of authority or substantial and specific danger to public health and safety resulting from action of the state, agency or political subdivision.”