POLITICS

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber Says He Will Not Resign Amid Criminal Investigation

02/11/2015 06:14 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015
Anthony Pidgeon via Getty Images

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) said on Wednesday that he would not resign amid an investigation by the state attorney general into allegations that his fiancee used her relationship with the governor for personal profit.

"Let me be as clear as I was last week, that I have no intention of resigning as Governor of the state of Oregon," Kitzhaber said in a statement. "I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so."

Rumors of Kitzhaber's resignation swirled Wednesday as Secretary of State Kate Brown (D), the next in line for the governor's mansion, cut a trip short to return to Oregon.

On Monday, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) announced that she had opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber's fiancee, used her proximity to the governor to benefit her private business. Kitzhaber and Hayes had already been under investigation by the state's ethics commission, but that investigation was halted once Rosenblum's criminal investigation was announced.

Last week, The Oregonian reported that Kitzhaber did not disclose that Hayes received $118,000 from a clean energy group while serving as an unpaid adviser to the governor on the issue. The paper also reported that Kitzhaber aides helped Hayes find paid positions with groups that wanted to influence the state's energy policy.

Kitzhaber has said the couple did not see the income as a conflict of interest that they needed to disclose. Kitzhaber did, however, disclose other fees that Hayes received from consulting.

Kitzhaber, who was elected to his fourth term in November, denied any wrongdoing after his fiancee's paid contract work came to light, but has admitted the allegations have become "a distraction."

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