Kitzhaber says he would like to remain active in civic affairs

During a ceremony honoring businessman Junki Yoshida,  the former governor said he first needs “to get my name cleared.”

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During a ceremony honoring businessman Junki Yoshida and his wife Linda, the former governor said he needs to clear his name and then “reengage in the things I have always been passionate about, education, health care.”

He was “jovial” and “relaxed” at the event, the Portland Tribune reports.

The ceremony was the first public appearance for Kitzhaber since he resigned under a cloud of controversy and charges of influence peddling relating to the activities of his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes. Kitzhaber and Hayes are being investigated by the Oregon U.S. Attorney’s Office. State criminal and ethics investigations have been suspended until the federal investigation is completed.

If Kitzhaber is feeling any pressure from the investigation, he didn’t show it. Gone was his haggard look at the Jan. 30 press conference where he fumbled while trying to answer questions about Hayes’ consulting contracts. Instead, Kitzhaber looked chipper and laughed and smiled while talking to people.

Meanwhile, the Oregonian argued in court filings that Hayes shouldn’t be able to shield the contents of her emails from the public and that the newspaper should not have to pay her legal fees.

The back and forth about the correspondence started in January, reports.

Hayes’ determination to protect her emails is a key thread in the narrative of the collapse of Kitzhaber’s historic fourth term. Hayes sued last month to overturn an order from Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum that she must turn over the emails. Whitney Boise, Hayes’ attorney, tried to fend off Rosenblum’s order by asserting that Hayes was not a public official. He made the same point earlier in an effort to stop an investigation by Oregon Government Ethics Commission.

Portland attorney Charles Hinkle, representing The Oregonian/OregonLive, said in last week’s filings that Boise submitted contradictory arguments about Hayes’ privacy rights. Hinkle said that the privacy protection sought by Boise was available only to someone who is a public official — the very role Hayes and Boise have claimed she didn’t serve.


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