Timeline of ethics issues surrounding Oregon governor

AP News
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Posted: Feb 15, 2015 3:43 AM

Just weeks after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber announced his resignation following allegations his fiancée used their relationship to win contracts for her consulting business and failed to report income on her taxes.

Some key events leading to this point:

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OCT. 8 — The Willamette Week newspaper reports that the governor's fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, used taxpayer resources to aid her green-energy consulting business.

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OCT. 9 — Hayes tearfully admits to a newspaper report that in 1997 she was paid $5,000 to marry an 18-year-old Ethiopian immigrant seeking to stay in the United States. Because the statute of limitations had passed, she is not prosecuted. When she told Kitzhaber about the marriage, "he was stunned and he was hurt," Hayes says. "And I will be eternally grateful for the beautiful, loving way he has supported me in this."

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OCT. 13 — Hayes acknowledges that in the same year as the marriage, she purchased property in Washington state intended to be used for a marijuana-growing operation but denies participating financially, saying that the scheme "never materialized." The man who sold the property says he found evidence that it did. Washington has since legalized medical and recreational marijuana, but the drug was illegal there in 1997.

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OCT. 23 — Republican gubernatorial candidate Dennis Richardson calls for the U.S. attorney to investigate whether Hayes' consulting work violated the law.

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NOV. 7 — The Oregon Government Ethics Commission opens a preliminary investigation into Hayes' consulting work, based on complaints filed by Republicans.

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JAN. 13 — The governor and Hayes announce they have hired lawyers to represent them in the investigation.

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JAN. 30 — Kitzhaber says he will not resign but acknowledges legitimate questions have been raised. He adds that Hayes will have no future role in his administration. The governor says he still loves Hayes, who was in Europe visiting friends.

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FEB. 4 — The editorial board of The Oregonian, the state's largest newspaper, calls for Kitzhaber to resign, writing that the governor "has broken faith with Oregonians" and can no longer effectively lead the state.

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FEB. 6 — Kitzhaber's office releases public records confirming that he fired his former communications director after she criticized Hayes at a staff meeting.

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FEB. 9 — Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says she has launched a criminal investigation.

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FEB. 11 — Secretary of State Kate Brown, next in line to become governor if Kitzhaber resigns, abruptly returns from a conference in Washington, D.C., fueling speculation that Kitzhaber is about to step down. Kitzhaber issues a statement saying he has no intention of doing so.

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FEB. 12 — The Senate president and House speaker, both Democrats, urge Kitzhaber to resign, saying the growing scandal leaves him unable to lead. State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, also a Democrat, says he cannot imagine things getting any better.

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FEB. 13 __ Kitzhaber announces his resignation. Hours later, a subpoena confirmed that federal agents were looking into the scandal.