Oregon gov. sought to destroy emails, report says – USA TODAY

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Oregon gov. sought to destroy emails, report says

Turmoil in the Oregon’s governor office worsened Thursday as the state’s Secretary of State called Gov. John Kitzhaber’s situation “bizarre and unprecedented” and a news report said Kitzhaber was on the brink of resigning.

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SALEM, Ore. — As Oregon’s top Democratic leaders called for Governor John Kitzhaber to resign, a report surfaced that his office requested thousands of the governor’s personal emails be destroyed.

Kitzhaber and his fiance, Cylvia Hayes, are embroiled in ethics probes stemming from consulting work obtained by Hayes while she worked as an adviser to the governor.

Revelations about Hayes’ past have brought Kitzhaber to the brink of resignation. In the latest twist of the fast-developing story, local news outlet Willamette Week on Thursday reported that Kitzhaber’s executive assistant, Jan Murdock, wanted all emails from Kitzhaber’s personal email accounts removed from state servers.

According to the Willamette Week report, the request from Murdock was described in a Feb. 5 email.

“Governor’s office wants anything that is in the email account [Kitzhaber’s account] removed from archive,” wrote Tracy Osburn, a field technician in the DAS Technology Support Center. The email was obtained by Willamette Week and 101.9 KINK/FM News 101 KXL.

Kitzhaber has not commented on any developments since Wednesday night, when he told a group of reporters that he would not resign. Calls from KGW to Kitzhaber’s office have not been returned.

DEM LEADERS CALL FOR RESIGNATION

On Thursday, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Ted Wheeler — all Democrats — said the governor should step down.

“It’s hard for him to govern so I’m worried about him,” an emotional Courtney told reporters.

The public calls for resignation added to an already tumultuous situation in the state’s capital. Earlier in the day, the state’s Secretary of State called the situation “bizarre and unprecedented” and a news report said Kitzhaber had been ready to resign. Kitzhaber had insisted late Wednesday that he had “no intention of resigning.”

The upheaval in the governor’s office comes as the state’s attorney general holds a criminal investigation of Kitzhaber over allegations the fourth-term Democrat governor and Hayes misused the authority of the governor’s office to further Hayes’ consulting practice. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has opened a preliminary probe into Hayes’ work; she has hired a criminal defense attorney.

BROWN: THIS IS STRANGE

Secretary of State describes ‘strange’ meeting with Kitzhaber

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, also a Democrat and the first in the line of succession if Kitzhaber were to resign, released a statement Thursday that shed light on the upheaval faced by Oregon’s top corridors of power this week.

According to Brown, on Tuesday she said she had received a phone call from Kitzhaber asking her to come back from Washington, D.C. to Oregon “as soon as possible to speak with him in person and alone.”

The request fueled speculation Kitzhaber was preparing to quit and wanted to discuss a transition with Brown.

When Brown got back to the state, however, she said Kitzhaber told her he wasn’t planning to resign.

“This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation,” Brown said in a statement.

The Oregonian‘s late Wednesday reported Kitzhaber was ready to resign earlier this week, then changed his mind after meeting with one of his lawyers and fiance Cylvia Hayes.

More: Who is Secretary of State Kate Brown?

Timeline: Kitzhaber and Hayes controversy

Contributing: The Associated Press

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/1Dm4pRN

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Oregon gov. sought to destroy emails, report says

Turmoil in the Oregon’s governor office worsened Thursday as the state’s Secretary of State called Gov. John Kitzhaber’s situation “bizarre and unprecedented” and a news report said Kitzhaber was on the brink of resigning.

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SALEM, Ore. — As Oregon’s top Democratic leaders called for Governor John Kitzhaber to resign, a report surfaced that his office requested thousands of the governor’s personal emails be destroyed.

Kitzhaber and his fiance, Cylvia Hayes, are embroiled in ethics probes stemming from consulting work obtained by Hayes while she worked as an adviser to the governor.

Revelations about Hayes’ past have brought Kitzhaber to the brink of resignation. In the latest twist of the fast-developing story, local news outlet Willamette Week on Thursday reported that Kitzhaber’s executive assistant, Jan Murdock, wanted all emails from Kitzhaber’s personal email accounts removed from state servers.

According to the Willamette Week report, the request from Murdock was described in a Feb. 5 email.

“Governor’s office wants anything that is in the email account [Kitzhaber’s account] removed from archive,” wrote Tracy Osburn, a field technician in the DAS Technology Support Center. The email was obtained by Willamette Week and 101.9 KINK/FM News 101 KXL.

Kitzhaber has not commented on any developments since Wednesday night, when he told a group of reporters that he would not resign. Calls from KGW to Kitzhaber’s office have not been returned.

DEM LEADERS CALL FOR RESIGNATION

On Thursday, Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Treasurer Ted Wheeler — all Democrats — said the governor should step down.

“It’s hard for him to govern so I’m worried about him,” an emotional Courtney told reporters.

The public calls for resignation added to an already tumultuous situation in the state’s capital. Earlier in the day, the state’s Secretary of State called the situation “bizarre and unprecedented” and a news report said Kitzhaber had been ready to resign. Kitzhaber had insisted late Wednesday that he had “no intention of resigning.”

The upheaval in the governor’s office comes as the state’s attorney general holds a criminal investigation of Kitzhaber over allegations the fourth-term Democrat governor and Hayes misused the authority of the governor’s office to further Hayes’ consulting practice. The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has opened a preliminary probe into Hayes’ work; she has hired a criminal defense attorney.

BROWN: THIS IS STRANGE

Secretary of State describes ‘strange’ meeting with Kitzhaber

Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown, also a Democrat and the first in the line of succession if Kitzhaber were to resign, released a statement Thursday that shed light on the upheaval faced by Oregon’s top corridors of power this week.

According to Brown, on Tuesday she said she had received a phone call from Kitzhaber asking her to come back from Washington, D.C. to Oregon “as soon as possible to speak with him in person and alone.”

The request fueled speculation Kitzhaber was preparing to quit and wanted to discuss a transition with Brown.

When Brown got back to the state, however, she said Kitzhaber told her he wasn’t planning to resign.

“This is clearly a bizarre and unprecedented situation,” Brown said in a statement.

The Oregonian‘s late Wednesday reported Kitzhaber was ready to resign earlier this week, then changed his mind after meeting with one of his lawyers and fiance Cylvia Hayes.

More: Who is Secretary of State Kate Brown?

Timeline: Kitzhaber and Hayes controversy

Contributing: The Associated Press

Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/1Dm4pRN

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