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Senate Republicans Target Kitzhaber Consultants With Public Records Request

Thursday, February 26, 2015

 

Political Consultant and Winning Mark founder Mark Weiner. Photo: Winning Mark

Thursday, the state’s Senate Republican caucus joined the ranks of Oregon media and submitted a public records request to former governor John Kitzhaber’s office. 

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. 

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Kitzhaber told media Friday, Jan. 30 he would not consider resigning. 

“Of course not,” he said. “I was elected by the people of this state to do a job, and I intend to do it.”

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The Governor said he did not see any problem in hiring Ball Janik, a firm that lobbies for Oregon in Washington, D.C., to defend him and Cylvia Hayes against allegations that include lobbying. 

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Kitzhaber said he has not been contacted by the FBI.

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The Governor said he did not instruct his attorney Leanni Reaves to loosen ethics guidelines for Cylvia Hayes. 

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“Our intention has always been to try to navigate this undefined area of First Lady,” Kitzhaber said during the press conference. 

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The Governor does not believe that an independent investigation is necessary, when asked if a body other than the ethics commission appointed by him should investigate. 

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When asked why the Governor did not keep Cylvia Hayes physically out of her office, he answered, “We tried to draw that line.” 

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“I am in love,” the Governor said. "I do not believe I have been blinded by love, I am 'eyes wide open.'”

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“I have no idea whether she [Cylvia] is legally a member of my household.”

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Cylvia Hayes is in Sweden visiting friends, the Governor said. 

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The Governor at one point compared himself to controversial Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. 

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The Governor said he is not trying to reach a deal with the ethics commission. 

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The Governor does not believe that an independent investigation is necessary, when asked if a body other than the ethics commission appointed by him should investigate. 

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“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."

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“Cylvia and I have a number of areas of common interest, climate change being one, low carbon fuels being one,” Kitzhaber said. "The fact that we have a convergence of intents does not seem to me to apply that if those issues apply in my administration that influence has been exerted."

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Cylvia Hayes will play no role in the Governor’s office for the next four years, according to Kitzhaber.

 
 

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