Secretary of State abruptly leaves DC conference; Gov can't atte - KPTV - FOX 12

Secretary of State abruptly leaves DC conference; Gov can't attend Saturday event

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A spokesman for Kate Brown, Tony Green, says he doesn't know why Brown left the conference for the National Association of Secretaries of State. She is president of the organization. A spokesman for Kate Brown, Tony Green, says he doesn't know why Brown left the conference for the National Association of Secretaries of State. She is president of the organization.
SALEM, OR (KPTV/AP) -

Secretary of State Kate Brown has unexpectedly left a conference in Washington, D.C., and is making an unscheduled return to Oregon.

Brown's abrupt return Wednesday comes as Gov. John Kitzhaber faces calls for his resignation. Brown would become governor if Kitzhaber leaves the office before the end of his term.

A spokesman for Brown, Tony Green, says he doesn't know why Brown left the conference for the National Association of Secretaries of State. She is president of the organization.

According to the conference agenda posted on the association's website, Brown was set to be part of a panel discussion on state voter registration efforts at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday and another panel on the "state of the states" at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Green says she's due into Portland Wednesday afternoon.

In addition to Brown changing her schedule, a spokeswoman for the group Friends of Trees says Kitzhaber's agenda had changed and he "can't attend" a tree planting event Saturday in Tigard. A Kitzhaber spokesman, however, says there was a miscommunication and the Governor's office never confirmed he would be attending the Friends of Trees event in the first place.

Kitzhaber is facing the biggest crisis of his nearly four-decade political career. Newspapers have called for his resignation over influence-peddling allegations surrounding his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes. 

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has put a review of Kitzhaber and Hayes on hold, a spokesman said, after learning Wednesday morning that the attorney general has a pending criminal investigation into both Kitzhaber and Hayes.

Jim McDermott, Kitzhaber's attorney, confirmed to FOX 12 that he believes Kitzhaber will remain in office.

Brown and Kitzhaber are both Democrats. 

RELATED LINKS:
Feb. 9: Kitzhaber requests AG review, told one is already underway
Feb. 7: Democrats leave Kitzhaber isolated in growing controversy
Feb. 6: Political group files petition to recall Gov. Kitzhaber
Feb. 4: Oregonian newspaper calls for Gov. Kitzhaber to resign
Jan. 30: Governor says 'no policy role, no political role' for fiancee
Jan. 12: Scandals cast shadow on Kitzhaber's fourth term as governor
Slideshow: 10 big U.S. political scandals from the last 50 years

Copyright 2015 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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