DOJ closes investigation into former Gov. Kitzhaber, Cylvia Haye - KPTV - FOX 12

DOJ closes investigation into former Gov. Kitzhaber, Cylvia Hayes with no charges

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John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes (KPTV file image) John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes (KPTV file image)
SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

The Department of Justice announced Friday that the investigation into former Gov. John Kitzhaber and Cylvia Hayes has closed with no federal criminal charges.

Kitzhaber resigned as Governor in February 2015, just one month after being sworn in for his fourth term.

Kitzhaber and his fiancee were under investigation over allegations they used their influence in Salem to support Hayes' professional career as a private consultant.

The investigation continued with no formal updates until the Department of Justice released a short statement Friday.

The investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation into the alleged misuse of former Governor Kitzhaber’s and Ms. Hayes’s positions for their personal benefit has concluded and no federal criminal charges will be sought.  The United States will not comment further on this matter.

Kitzhaber posted a statement on his Facebook page Friday saying, "As I have said from the beginning, I did not resign because I was guilty of any wrongdoing but rather because the media frenzy around these questions kept me from being the effective leader I wanted and needed to be. Then there was the real investigation, not by reporters, but people with subpoena power and the ability to look at everything in context. They decided there was nothing to pursue."

Kitzhaber then said, "So I'm back."

"I intend to continue to do what I’ve been doing for most of my adult life: trying to help Oregon deal with the challenges we face in a way that moves us beyond the current division and polarization and brings us back together as a community. I want to thank all of you who have stood with me and I look forward to reengaging with you in the months and years ahead," Kitzhaber wrote on Facebook. 

In April 2016, Kitzhaber posted a video on Facebook saying his decision to step down as governor was "in no way an admission of guilt" and he didn't want his career and reputation to be "defined by a media narrative that, from the start has been long on speculation and short on facts."

"People began to take these unsubstantiated allegations and use them as an excuse to oppose legislation that was very important to me, and I think important to Oregon," Kitzhaber said in the April 2016 video. 

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson released a statement Friday saying, "it is now nearly impossible to bring federal charges in political corruption cases." 

"This decision does not change the fact that the governor and Cylvia Hayes accepted money from those desiring to purchase influence," Richardson said Friday. 

Kitzhaber defeated Richardson in the 2014 election for governor. 

Kate Brown, then Oregon's secretary of state, took over as governor following Kitzhaber's resignation. She won an election over Republican Bud Pierce in November 2016 to finish Kitzhaber's remaining term in office. 

Related: A timeline of former Gov. John Kitzhaber's tumultuous 2015

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