Senate Republicans Target Kitzhaber Consultants With Public Records Request
Thursday, February 26, 2015
The request includes all correspondence between Kitzhaber’s top political campaign advisors and the governor’s office between Jan. 1, 2014 and Feb. 18, 2015, the day he resigned.
"During this unprecedented time, following the disgraceful exit of former Governor John Kitzhaber, Oregon finds itself in the national spotlight and at a historical crossroads," said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). "We are concerned the 'ethical fog' extends beyond Kitzhaber's administration to political operatives in the Democrat party and believe Oregonians deserve to know the extent of that connection."
With a long-time Democratic majority in the state, the Republicans argue a “shadow government” of behind-the-scenes political consultants influences the government.
The Republican records request zeroes in on emails between Kitzhaber, his staff and top consultants Patricia McCaig, Kevin Looper, and Mark Weiner.
According to research by the Republicans, Fulcrum Political, a firm run by Looper and Weiner, was paid $40,000 by NextGen Climate PAC, a group funded by California billionaire Tom Steyer, who has donated millions to environmental initiatives. Republicans claim the finding raises concerns over legislation on low carbon fuel standards currently moving through the Oregon legislature.
Winning Mark, founded by Weiner, has also received money from Democratic leadership campaigns and political action committees, according to the Senate Republicans. Fulcrum Political and Winning Mark received $603,000 from Kitzhaber, $136,750 from the Senate Democrat Leadership Fund, and nearly $133,000 from Governor Kate Brown since 2010, according to a statement released by the Republicans.
"Recent revelations from Public Records Requests resulted in the resignation of a Governor who served Oregon as an elected official for four decades," Ferrioli said. “It will be a shame for all Oregonians if this ethical fog creeps into our current Governor's office."
Related Slideshow: What Governor Kitzhaber Said at His Jan. Cylvia Hayes Press Conference
Governor John Kitzhaber held a press conference on Jan. 30, 2015, where he fielded questions surrounding his fiancé and Oregon’s “First Lady” Cylvia Hayes.
“The government ethics commission has a process and a sanction process. We will embrace that,” Kitzhaber said. “Well the Government ethics commission has a process and has a series of sanctions that it can take and we will obviously and have been complying and cooperating fully with the commission and we will embrace whatever decisions and sanctions they feel is appropriate."