Kitzhaber appears in person as ethics commission considers adopt - KPTV - FOX 12

Kitzhaber appears in person as ethics commission considers adopting new report

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission said Friday that former governor John Kitzhaber violated ethics laws while in office.

By a unanimous vote, the commission decided Kitzhaber violated ethics laws all but one of the 11 times detailed in a new report.

The report, which was released Wednesday, found that Kitzhaber used his official position for personal financial gain or to avoid financial loss to a consulting firm founded by his fiancée Cylvia Hayes.

The report also stated Hayes was given a position in Kitzhaber’s administration that gave her the power to help shape policy.

In a surprise to the commission, Kitzhaber attended and used the opportunity for the first time in three years to offer his perspective on the charges.

“If I made some violations, I want to be held accountable for them. That's not my problem, and you're going to have to decide this intent,” the former governor told the commission. “My concern is the assault on my integrity, and that means more to me than you'll ever know.”

Kitzhaber said he was aware there was an ethics challenge and admits to some mistakes in oversight but said he didn't want anyone to think that he intentionally violated ethics laws.

“It's whether I took the office which I was entrusted and intentionally said, ‘Oh, let's see. Let's see how I can enrich Sylvia Hayes. Let's see how I make money for myself,’” he said. “It’s not true. It didn't happen.”

Despite his responses Friday, Kitzhaber told the group that if they approved the report that he wouldn't argue with it.

Kitzhaber had said in November that he would agree to pay a $1,000 fine, but the commission rejected that proposal just days later.

The former governor faces a maximum penalty of $5,000 per violation.The commission said Friday it will meet at a later date to determine those penalties.

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