Saturday, February 14, 2015

Last Call For The Other Shoe In Oregon

And now we know why Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is going gently into that good night:  a major FBI grand jury investigation into his conduct is on the way.

A federal grand jury in Portland has launched a sweeping investigation of Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and fiancée Cylvia Hayes that ranges from the state's 10-year budget plan to the proposed Port of Morrow coal terminal.

The investigation came into public view Friday when investigators delivered the three-page subpoena to the state Department of Administrative Services. It came hours after the Democratic governor had announced he will resign next Wednesday.

The subpoenas shed light on what looks to be the largest criminal investigation of a public official in Oregon. State officials are ordered to turn over to the grand jury records that are a catalog of Kitzhaber's climate and economy-related initiatives:Genuine Progress Indicator, Pacific Coast Collaborative, Oregon Prosperity Initiative, low carbon fuel standards and sustainable economic development.

Investigators are after any state record mentioning Hayes, her private consulting business and her role in the governor's office. They want her personal tax returns and those of her company dating back to 2009. The state also must turn over records of her use of state credit cards.

The state is ordered to turn over emails, correspondence, memos and other state records about Hayes' clients, including Demos, Resource Media, Energy Foundation, Rural Development Initiatives, Clean Economy Development Center, Waste to Energy.

It was the mounting scandal over those contracts, which paid Hayes at least $213,000 since 2011, that prompted the state's top Democratic leaders to call for Kitzhaber's resignation, setting in motion his announcement Friday.

It looks like Kitzhaber is in at least as much trouble as disgraced Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell, who got 2 years in prison for his bribery scandal (and his wife faces sentencing next week).  We'll see what happens, but I'm betting he's ending up in jail for a while.

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