Kitzhaber Planned to Resign Then Changed His Mind

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) “decided to resign Tuesday but then changed his mind, insisting Wednesday afternoon that he’s staying,” the Oregonian reports.

“Events developed as the Democratic governor, now in a historic fourth term and fighting multiple investigations, faced eroding support from other elected officials and even his own advisers. The governor decided to pull back from resigning – set for Thursday or Friday — after meeting with his attorney, Portland lawyer Jim McDermott, and his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes.”

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  • Buford2k11

    Even crooks have to make a stand…It’s too bad it isn’t in a jail cell yet…

    • I don’t see Kitzhaber getting close to criminal indictments yet. Ms. Hayes is a different matter. She is probably going to pay a hefty fine plus some sort of plea bargain deal. I see a grand jury with some criminal charges against her…

  • embo66

    If there is real dirt there — and it would appear there is — Kitzhaber should resign. Period. Keep it brief and move on without bleeding damage into Oregon Democrats as a whole.

    • I don’t think Kitzhaber should resign. He has a huge mess that he allowed to be created, that could lead to criminal indictments against him, but he shouldn’t resign. Cylvia Hayes on the other hand is in serious legal jeopardy. Income Tax evasion, bribery, even extortion..

      • terjeanderson

        I’d probably agree with you if it was just involving things that Hayes did on her own (the old sham marriage, shady business dealings, etc).

        But the fact that he allowed her to play a role in making state policy while she was being paid externally on those issues is on him, not her.

        I may be misreading the situation from my distance, but as is, I simply don’t think he can survive. (And a quick check in with two Democratic political friends in Portland indicates they think the same thing.)

        He may need to hold out resignation as a legal negotiating strategy, but it will probably end up being necessary in the end. For the sake of the state (and the state of Oregon Democratic prospects going forward) sooner would be better than later.

        • Some of the people that are calling for Kitzhaber’s head, like Dave Frohnmayer, isn’t just former head of Univ. of Oregon, but former GOP candidate for Governor, and former State Attorney General. Besides some of the anger is also tied to the low carbon bill, which business are very much against. As much as Kitzhaber and Hayes created this mess, I just see some ulterior motives in wanting Kitzhaber to resign..

          Kitzhaber can’t continue if his defense is similar to his last Press Conference. He also can’t continue if he doesn’t kick Ms. Hayes out of Salem, besides having a separate legal team. If he is going to stand by her, or keep the talking points that there was nothing wrong in not filing the $118 k in papers to the State Ethics Commission that Hayes received from the non profit think tank in DC, he will have to resign.

          The biggest problem that Kitzhaber has to face is his aide/ aides got contracts/work for Hayes in 2011, (ie the $115k fellowship that wasn’t reported to the Ethics Commission) which pretty much ties him to Hayes’s dealings/enrichment. If those aides testify that they were ordered by Kitzhaber to find work for Hayes, Kitzhaber is toast.

          Right now, Kitzhaber shouldn’t resign. He should fight this, but if can’t continue to fight this while defending Ms.Hayes, he has to distance himself from her, if he wants to politically survive.

          • terjeanderson

            But it isn’t just Republicans calling for it.

            It is clear that his days are numbered when folks like Tina Kotek, Ted Wheeler, and Peter Courtney are calling for him to step down; when Kate Brown publicly recounts the bizarro world details of her meeting with him; when he has virtually no support in the legislature and party activists aren’t stepping up for him…..

            Trying to blame it all on Hayes and distance himself from her simply is not a viable strategy.

            The guy is toast …. the only question is when, not if.

          • Hawkeye

            IMO it would be a questionable call, except that he has no allies left. He pretty much has no choice anymore but resignation.

          • Well I just read the Dem leaders in the Oregon Legislature asked him to resign, so he looks like he is toast.. I think he should still fight, as governor, but it looks like he has no support and he will have to resign..

          • As any politician in their political death throes, llike Kitzhaber, his last chance has to do a combination of pleading mea culpa for failing the citizen of Oregon for allowing and fostering a huge conflict of interest. He also does have to throw Cylvia under the bus if he wants to survive, politically. Of course there should be some finesse when throwing someone under the bus, like how President Clinton did it with ease and grace..

            Kitzhaber hasn’t taken any survival steps, instead he has hunkered down, block investigations, stated there is nothing wrong,, and now has come across as bizarre.. He and Ms. Hayes are appearing in hiding something and obstruction..

            Even if Kitzhaber’s political career is over, he still facing some serious grand jury investigations on his actions and the actions of his campaign aide in 2011 when Cylvia Hayes got her fellowship with the DC think tank..

            Ms. Hayes on the other hand, is in serious legal jeopardy. She is facing some obvious criminal indictments..

        • LarryMcD

          You’re not misreading the situation, Terj. As an Oregon Dem I’m seriously sick of this situation. Kitzhaber ran all four times as a ER doctor capable of making important decisions quickly and correctly. I feel about Kithaber’s self-created mess exactly as I did about Bill Clinton’s, Bill McDonnell’s, and Anthony Weiner’s – criminal activity or no, they put themselves first and embarrassed their offices and their constituents and a quick and quiet resignation is the proper action.

          • KurtBusiek

            You think Clinton should have resigned?

            I’m glad he didn’t agree.

  • nanotab

    He’s looking after #1 – certainly not the people of Oregon.

  • Cedric

    Crazy. What a mess. Oregon Democrats need to abandon ship fast to not get pulled down with him.

  • evave2

    This reminds me of the McDonnells in Virginia. Question for Oregonians: how LONG have they been engaged? It seems like I’ve been reading this story for YEARS.

    What were they thinking?

    • It is kind of similar to the McDonnell situation. However there are differences… Both McDonnells got bribes and gifts. There is nothing right now that Kitzhaber was asking for bribes, or a pay to play scheme like Sheldon Silver in New York or John Rowland in Connecticut..

      If there are serious criminal indictments, (I assume that they will be Federal criminal indictments than state jurisdiction) Kitzhaber has to play his cards much differently than the McDonnells. He would need to make a plea deal.. McDonnells time and time again blew their negotiations with the the Feds..

      Right now, if he fights this to save Ms. Hayes, forget it. She is in a different situation. He needs to banish her to Joseph, OR, ie as far away from Salem as possible, and let her fend for herself. They both created this serious legal mess, but she is the author of it, and was told specifically not to mix her consulting work with the Governor’s office.

      • evave2

        I agree with the specifics of the cases that the McDonnells are dissimilar to Kitzhaber and Hayes. But in both cases, in a creepy way, the women are being portrayed as sort of “Eve in the garden” leading their men into sin.

        In Governor McDonnell’s case himself he partook of the fruit; in Governor Kitzhaber’s case it appears that he just turned his back on the fruit himself while not telling Ms Hayes to knock it off.

        So it appears to me that Kitzhaber is guilty of being willfully blind to what Hayes was doing in his administration.

        • Kitzhaber allowed this to happen. Kitzhaber was warned there was a huge conflict of interest in having Hayes still doing consultancy work along with her role as “First Lady”..

          The more I read about this case, the more I am leaning that Kitzhaber may have to resign