Remembering the Bidwell and Company ethical double play.
”Forty years ago I completed my internship in Denver and moved to Roseburg — a freshly minted 27 year old ER doctor: young and naive and idealistic,” Kitzhaber said. “After 36 years (in government,) I am no longer young and I am certainly not naive, but I am still idealistic.” Kitzhaber Inauguration Speech, 2015
One has to wonder; Kitzhaber was sworn in to uphold the US Constitution and the Constitution of Oregon. Seemingly he has displayed an immaculate record as three term governor. Suddenly he emerges as a victim, blind sided by a scheming and blatantly dishonest younger woman. Simply a victim of his own misplaced emotions? A high official with an impeccable record ensnared by circumstances beyond his control? His ethics have always seemingly been presented as beyond reproach. Then given this line of reasoning, the only lingering question becomes who’s sinister spell will he succumb to next?
A stellar example of this ethical past, mortgage professionals must maintain the highest integrity, he insisted during the 1990’s. As the Senate Leader he spearheaded legislation to regulate mortgage bankers and brokers, which ultimately passed on his watch. As a first term governor, he managed the creation of the agency structure and implementation of the state system under this bill to regulate the mortgage banking industry in Oregon. Then, as incoming second term governor, he took out a personal residential mortgage from then Bidwell and Company, a financial institution unlicensed under the in the State of Oregon’s Mortgage Banking Bill to originate residential mortgages. Subsequently he rewarded the head of Bidwell and Company with a position on the Oregon Investment Council. A mere oversight or an ethical breech and pronounced conflict of interest? Are his ethics really beyond reproach? Given his involvement in the formulation and passage of the legislation followed by his implementation as Governor of the nascent regulatory structure, one can hardly believe the assertion he was ignorant about the mortgage banking laws when he took this loan.
So, is he really as ethically pure as he has been portrayed by the press and others? Is he truly an innocent dupe who has been victimized? He certainly suggests in his inauguration that he isn’t naïve. Or was he actually a teacher and mentor to a much younger, naive, and impressionable “intern”, an “understudy” turned love interest? As a three term and newly re-elected governor, pleading ignorance of the State’s ethics laws, ignoring the appearance of impropriety, and failing to distance his new found mate from potential scandal would seem to suggest he is blinded by the perception of his own invulnerability and the expansive power of his office. If he really ever was idealistic in his youth as he maintains, he has seemingly left that idealism behind. And it certainly seems naïve to assert that Cylvia Hayes is solely to blame!
I go back to check the Oregonian’s coverage of the Kitzhaber story before the election.
The Oregonian newspaper this week called for John Kitzhaber to resign. Once the state’s newspaper of record came to the realization there was gambling at Rick’s, official Oregon began scrambling in a chorus of ‘me-toos’. It would be amusing if it didn’t reveal how morally bankrupt these one party rulers are.
It points out something else. When the Oregonian said jump, the Democrat ruling class hopped-to. That’s a lot of power. What would have happened if the Oregonian had done more due diligence before the election?
The editorial board claimed it called for the resignation because of revelations about his and his “first lady’s” conflicts of interest, appearance of impropriety, apparent illegality and sheer unseemliness, among other things.
So, here’s the question: What changed between now and before the last November’s election?
More details of everything we already knew. Everything mentioned above was true before the election. Indeed, the Kitzhaber Administration, in all of its transparency, engaged in a cover up before the election. But the Zero did not condemn this obvious slow roll of information in order to get past the November election.
What was the response of the Zero? It endorsed him for Governor.
Even as Willamette Week was eating the Oregonian’s lunch in coverage of this story, by looking back at these October (please see my comments below on this) stories you get a clear- eyed view of how Oregon’s newspaper of record gave Kitzhaber a pass at the most crucial time of the election cycle. The part of the cycle when the disengaged voters become engaged.
I’ve included the photos and headlines used with the stories. Photos and headlines convey the mood of a piece even when people don’t have time to read the full story.
October 5: One full month before the election, the Oregonian’s editorial board endorses Kitzhaber for reelection.
Headline: Re-elect John Kitzhaber: Editorial Endorsement.
October 9: Cylvia Hayes lied about selling her citizenship in a previous marriage of convenience for $5,000. It’s her third marriage. The Zero used Willamette Week as its source.
Headline: Gov. Kitzhaber’s fiancee Cylvia Hayes confirms third marriage to Ethiopian immigrant, WW reports
Oct 11: The paper does a puff piece on how Kitzhaber is wounded but is a survivor! He’ll win the election. This carries the underlying theme of ‘nothing to worry about. He’s going to win and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Headline: Cylvia Hayes scandal: John Kitzhaber wounded but probably will win
Oct 13: Kitzhaber calls for ethics commission probe on Hayes. The paper only blithely mentions the commission will take until after the election to do its job. It’s clear Kitzhaber is bamboozling the media while playing for time–as in waiting till after the election.
Headline: John Kitzhaber asks for formal state review of Cylvia Hayes contracts, first lady role.
October 16: The paper editorializes how wonderful it is the governor no longer allows his girl friend to do paid work, noting the ‘cascade of increasingly embarrassing’ stories about this relationship. The message: He’s got this covered. Nothing to worry about.
Headline: At last, Kitzhaber tells voters that Cylvia Hayes won’t accept paid work if he is re-elected: Editorial
October 29: Kitzhaber says he won’t release Hayes records until lawyers cull through them. Oct 29
Headline: John Kitzhaber aide says Cylvia Heayes records require ‘rigorous legal review’ before they’re released.
October 29: John Kitzhaber refuses to turn over documents relating to shady dealings between him and Hayes. The cover up is out in the open, but the Oregonian, having already endorsed him, refuses to condemn a man they’ve already previously said will ‘likely win’ the election notwithstanding his and his girlfriend’s financial skullduggery.
Headline: John Kitzhaber slow to release office records on Cylvia Hayes as election nears.
The Oregonian was missing in action.
As a result of the newspaper of record’s dereliction of duty, this state has as its chief executive a man who controls his life with his zipper while his far left activist girlfriend has full reign at Mahonia Hall and the Governor’s office. I must note here the Governor scrubbed her ‘First Lady‘ page from public view as I reported this week.
Cylvia Hayes is missing from the State of Oregon website
On the day the Oregonian newspaper editorial board called for the resignation of Governor John Kitzhaber, the woman whom Kitzhaber insisted we all call the ‘First Lady’ has been scrubbed from the website.
The other day Cylvia Hayes’s pretty visage was prominently featured.
Tonight the First Lady page has been removed. This is what several attempts to get at the page produced.
Oregonians had a chance to hire a man of integrity and family values in Dennis Richardson. Oregonians chose the Rhinestone Cowboy, Dr. Do Over. With Richardson at least you would have had a real lady at his side.
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? Kitz: No. 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 .. crosstalk 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.