by Les Weaver
Clash Daily Contributor
The announcement that Governor John Kitzhaber of Oregon is resigning under the burden of multiple criminal investigations has brought me some deep concerns. Those concerns are rooted in decades of questionable history. Kitzhaber has just begun his fourth term as Governor.
First it should be noted that Oregon continues as a dark “Blue” state with its Progressive Liberalism equaled only by CA, IL., NY, MA and HI.
The most recent questions about Gov. Kitzhaber became public on May 13, 2014, when a federal grand jury issued a wide-ranging subpoena to Oregon agencies demanding the emails of 10 current and former employees involved with the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange technology debacle. (This failed “Obama-care” registration system is rumored to cost the citizens of Oregon +/- $300M and climbing). The federal Cover Oregon probe is believed to target allegations that state officials misled federal officials about their progress on the project to keep federal grant funds flowing.
Now Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes are under a massive FBI investigation. The federal probe had been rumored for weeks. Questions about Hayes, 47, a clean energy consultant, have dogged the couple for months, but only over the past week did it become clear that they would bring a swift and agonizing end to Kitzhaber’s 35-year career in public service. The controversy over possible influence-peddling by the couple is under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and by the Oregon Department of Justice as well.
The U.S. attorney has subpoenaed all of the state’s electronic records concerning Oregon, Gov. John Kitzhaber and Ms. Hayes. The subpoena demands production of a massive trove of data and makes it clear that the four-term governor’s troubles will not necessarily end with his departure from office. The federal subpoena also seeks emails sent or received by Hayes, Kitzhaber, Kitzhaber government attorney Liani Reeves and the head of the Department of Administrative Services. Email records were requested from 13 others who were either employed by or had dealings with the state, including a woman who worked for a short time as a communications staffer for the governor and was fired, in part, for questioning Hayes’ role in the administration.
A demand for records was also issued by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and seeks “all information, records, and documents” for both Hayes and Kitzhaber who are now under investigation from the OR State Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum and joins a third inquiry led by the Oregon Department of Justice. This subpoena seeks information about Hayes’ dealings with energy contracts, and also demands information between state employees and several non-governmental bodies including Demos, a New York-based research and policy center that paid Hayes to serve as its advocate while Hayes also pushed its agenda forward as the governor’s energy advisor.
Here the embattled governor faces allegations that his fiancée used their relationship to win contracts for her consulting business and failed to report income on her taxes. Atty. Gen. Rosenblum announced in a three-sentence letter to Kitzhaber that she had begun a criminal investigation into the troubled first couple. The state Ethics Commission was already investigating whether Hayes had falsified tax forms and been paid consulting fees to influence her future husband, and just what Kitzhaber’s involvement had been.
Kitzhaber had recently managed to survive two recalls and the 11th-hour revelation that his fiancée and decade-long companion had entered into a fraudulent green-card marriage in 1997, receiving $5,000 to wed an Ethiopian national so that he could stay in the country. It also came to light she once bought property with a former boyfriend with the intent to illegally grow marijuana.
This week, Rosenblum ordered Hayes to release emails she had sent in her capacity as Kitzhaber’s adviser. This complaint names 11 state agencies and 17 people whose communications are being requested. It has been reported that Kitzhaber has recently tried to delete thousands of his own e-mails from the state e-mail server, (shades of the IRS?).
We would think that all bases are covered to investigate and carry this to a just conclusion but now I express concern about the larger portion of this “political ice-berg” that is not yet, and may never, be revealed.
The two Oregon Senators, several Oregon Congressional Representatives, a majority of the state legislature and counterparts in the adjoining state of Washington brag about how they support “Green Energy” and their role in bringing wind power generators to the Columbia River Gorge. (Here we note that the Columbia River Hydro-Electric system is the largest single source of electricity in the West, if not in the nation). What we wonder is why these wind turbines were placed in and to the east of the “Gorge” and now require months of expensive subsidies during much of the year during which there is a surplus of power from the hydro-system and these turbines are idle? Who benefited from this “green energy” fiasco? Is it possible that this taxpayer shaft benefited particular consultants, and through contractor kick-backs, many selected politicians?
Should we expect a thorough, honest and transparent inquiry performed by fellow state progressives that, as these investigations begin, tout their allegiance to the defendants past great “public service”?
Should we have faith in a Federal Department of Justice that has been unable to get to the bottom of Solyndra, Fast & Furious, the IRS witch hunts, Benghazi, and so much more?
Should we trust that the President will not issue a full pardon to anyone found as contributor to this mess based on their being fellow “Green Progressives” in good standing?
I fear for the investigators and certain witnesses. Here I recall a Monday in July 1993 when a distraught 48 year old attorney “took his own life”. He faced the prospect of being grilled about the shady affairs of his clients, the Clinton.
Yes, we may be only viewing a political iceberg and will never see the remaining 90%.