Kitzhaber, Hayes will not face federal charges

Kitzhaber resigned from office in 2015

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes (KOIN 6 News file/Governor's website)
Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes (KOIN 6 News file/Governor's website)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Federal prosecutors announced on Friday they have stopped the investigation of former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and his girlfriend Cylvia Hayes. The pair will not face any criminal charges.

The news comes more than 2 years after Kitzhaber announced his resignation.

In February 2015, Kitzhaber resigned from office after revelations Hayes, his unofficial advisor, received more than $200,000 from outside interest groups to influence energy and environmental policies and failed to report the income on her taxes. However, in his statement, he said he broke no laws.

The U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement,

The investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Oregon, the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation into the alleged misuse of former Governor Kitzhaber’s and Ms. Hayes’s positions for their personal benefit has concluded and no federal criminal charges will be sought. The United States will not comment further on this matter.”

Later on Friday, Kitzhaber released a statement that said:

As you know, over the last two years I have kept a low profile while resolving questions related to the federal investigation that began shortly after I was elected to a fourth term as Oregon’s Governor. I’m glad to report the U.S. Attorney has concluded the investigation and found nothing to pursue. As I have said from the beginning, I did not resign because I was guilty of any wrongdoing, but rather because the media frenzy around these questions kept me from being the effective leader I wanted and needed to be. Then there was the real investigation, not by reporters, but by people with subpoena power and the ability to look at everything in context. They decided there was nothing to pursue. So I’m back. I intend to continue to do what I’ve been doing for my entire adult life: trying to help Oregon deal with the challenges we face, in a way that moves us beyond the current political division and polarization and brings us back together as a community.”

Secretary of State Kate Brown assumed Oregon’s highest office after Kitzhaber ended his four-decade political career.

The Associated Press contributed to this report