Governor Kitzhaber’s performance Friday at a presser (video below) called to do damage control after reports surfaced, and his girlfriend subsequently confirmed, she made money trading on her role as ‘First “Lady”‘and didn’t report it.
Though he owes the citizens of Oregon answers, he called the presser Friday morning to stage a little political theater and to pretend to answer questions. And though we did glean a bit of information from Kitzhaber (he doesn’t regret getting together with her, he doesn’t know if he lives with her), he mostly pulled a Marshawn Lynch, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
Kitzhaber brought up the Seahawks running back in his remarks in answer to a question by Lars Larson, “I don’t want to sound like Marshawn Lynch, but as I’ve said before…”
While both people hate the media, there’s a big difference between Lynch and Kitzhaber: Lynch isn’t trying to hide anything.
Here a few things we learned during this most awkward presser:
- The man who hates the media (especially talk shows) held a news conference. He’s willing to take questions from other than friendly reporters in a desperate attempt to look statesmanlike and in control of his disastrous message (see example below).
- Kitzhaber doesn’t actually know if the woman with whom he’s been living for the past four years, whom he claims is part of his household and whom he calls Oregon’s “first lady”, actually lives with him.
- He calls a distraction questions about Hayes’s “first lady” status, though it was he who foisted the title on the citizens and leaned on the media to hop-to and follow along. Or, as I put it in my post, ‘Cylvia Hayes You’ll Look Marvelous in an Orange Jump Suit“, Oregonians have been “forced to tolerate this woman much like kids forced to be nice to Dad’s fourth wife named Bambi”.
- “Of course” he won’t resign, regardless of whether he’s guilty of violating his ethics or not. Yes, he really said that.
- He took questions (but never actually answered) questions from radio talk host Lars Larson on whose show he refuses to come.
- He unsuccessfully tried to sell the idea the woman who’s been trading on the title the Governor gave her, “first lady”, and whom he said he loves and had no regrets getting together with, won’t have any effect on his decision in office, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
- He doesn’t think an independent audit will shed light on his and Cylvia’s shenanigans. Kitzhaber names some of the members to the Government Ethics Commission so I can see why he would want people who aren’t his cronies looking at his and Cylvia’s books.
- He tried to convince reporters, and anyone else watching, he didn’t didn’t conduct the state’s money and business with his zipper down.
- Though Hayes is reportedly targeted with an FBI investigation, neither Cylvia nor Kitzhaber has hired a criminal defense attorney, although Kitzhaber confirmed he and Hayes have retained Ball Janik to represent them on civil issues.
This exchange between Willamette Week’s Nigel Jacquiss and the Governor encapsulates why he’s in trouble:
Jacquiss: Governor, have you ever used the authority of your office or attended a meeting to benefit Cylvia Hayes’s career?
Jacquiss: Ok, so 2013 you went to Bhutan with Lou Baily from Demos. For the preceding year, you and Cylvia Hayes had been in close contact with Beemos and Lou Baily. You went to Bhutan in the middle of a legislative session. When you returned, Demos awarded Cylvia Hayes a contract. So are you sure that you didn’t go to Bhutan to benefit her career.
Kitz: (Smirks) I’m absolutely sure.
Jacquiss: How can you say that?
Kitz: It’s very easy. I’m absolutely sure ..
Jacquiss: You went to Bhutan, lending the credibility of your name and the credibility of your office to Demos and they rewarded Cylvia with a contract..
Kitz: So, you can draw that conclusion. I suppose the Ethics Commission will take a look at this. Well, but let’s talk about …
Robert Kennedy. That’s right. He changed the subject to talk about Robert Kennedy and how he became involved and enthralled with Beemos during a speech by Robert Kennedy at the University of Kansas in 1968 (he says this searching the room to see if picking up what he’s throwing down).
Changing the subject is the only thing he’s got going for him. Who knows, the compliant press just might let him get away with it.
*He didn’t actually say this, though he did invoke Lynch’s name and the episode where he said this.
*This post has been updated to reflect the correct name of the company from which Hayes received money, perks in exchange for government jobs.