The Oregon State Ethics Commission this morning denied a request by Gov. John Kitzhaber for an advisory opinion on whether or not first lady Cylvia Hayes is a public official.
Last month, Kitzhaber asked the Oregon Government Ethics Comission to determine whether Hayes met the state legal definition of a public official, after questions arose regarding Hayes’ paid consulting work. Staff in the governor’s office have acknowledged they already treated Hayes as a public official, although the position of first lady is unpaid.
Ethics Commission Executive Director Ron Bersin said the commission should instead answer Kitzhaber’s questions through a separate inquiry that it opened in response to an ethics complaint regarding Hayes and Kitzhaber. The commission voted unanimously to follow Bersin’s recommendation and deny the governor’s request.