Four-term Oregon governor John Kitzhaber was forced to resign last Friday amid allegations that his fiancee Cylvia Hayes used political connections to score over $200,000 in work for her green energy consulting firm, 3EStrategies, and that she was secretly paid by an environmental advocacy group to influence state environmental policies.
Hayes, who fancies herself Oregon’s First Lady even though she is not married to Kitzhaber, has her own rather unique set of problems. It was discovered last year that her third marriage was to a teenage Ethiopian illegal immigrant. The 1997 union was in name only, and was a marriage of convenience – her “husband” needed to avoid deportation, and Hayes desperately needed the dowry that he paid her. They were officially divorced five years later. And shortly after her green card wedding was made public, it was discovered that Hayes’ name was on the deed to a piece of property in neighboring Washington that was allegedly purchased with the intention of starting a marijuana farm.
Both the Oregon Department of Justice and the FBI are investigating links between Hayes and the Kitzhaber administration, with the FBI issuing subpoenas for all records and documents on file relating to Kitzhaber, Hayes, 15 other people and 11 state agencies, including the governor’s office. In addition to cronyism, it has also been alleged that 3EStrategies lifted part of its official Oregon Green Jobs Growth Plan directly from a 2009 Workforce Oregon report, without attribution. 3EStrategies was paid $135,000 by the Oregon Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development to put together the Green Jobs Growth Plan.
As embarrassing as the scandal has been so far, it has the potential to get bigger. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, the Democratic party’s “Koch Brother,” is directly tied to the Kitzhaber/Hayes scandal through a group that he both financed and managed, the Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC). Lachlan Markey reports:
An executive at one of Steyer’s nonprofit groups and a political vendor who has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the hedge fund manager’s political operations helped run the group, which is accused of influencing state energy policy through undisclosed payments to Oregon’s first lady.
The controversy centers on Gov. John Kitzhaber’s fiancée, Cylvia Hayes. She was paid $118,000 by the Clean Economy Development Center (CEDC) to advocate for environmentalist policies in Oregon.
Hayes never disclosed those payments, despite acting as an informal adviser to the governor as he pushed a low-carbon fuel standard for the state.
Dan Carol, then a strategic adviser to CEDC, helped Hayes land the position. He was given a $165,000-per-year job in the Kitzhaber administration.
Kitzhaber is expected to resign today under intense scrutiny over the scandal. The scandal could extend beyond Oregon given Steyer’s involvement. Steyer has donated millions to a group that helped finance Hayes’ position, which could ensnare one of the Democratic Party’s most prominent fundraisers in the scandal.
As HotAir.com’s Noah Rothman notes, “green energy” has never been profitable and is completely dependent on subsidy dollars in order to stay afloat. This necessity, combined with the infallibility of green energy among the political class, creates the perfect conditions for corruption. It will be very interesting to see how many other government environmental development programs are being secretly influenced by environmental activists and their big money donors.