Pete the Banker: Kitzhaber Isn’t Beguiled By Love, He’s a Serial Ethics Offender.

February 9, 2015

So, is Kitzhaber really as ethically pure as he has been portrayed by the press and others? Is he truly an innocent dupe who has been victimized?

Remembering the Bidwell and Company ethical double play.

Image Credit: The Oregonian
Image Credit: The Oregonian

”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!