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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Richardson Asks For Federal Investigation Of Kitzhaber

Campaign photo

The Republican running for governor in Oregon has asked for a federal criminal investigation into his opponent.

Dennis Richardson made the request Thursday in a letter to the U.S. Attorney's office in Portland. The campaign for Richardson's general election opponent dismisses the request as a waste of time.

Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber has come under fire for allegedly looking the other way while his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, secured lucrative consulting gigs purportedly by using her role of first lady.

Kitzhaber has asked the Oregon Ethics Commission to clarify what Hayes can and cannot do. And he said Hayes won't play an advisory role in his administration while everything is sorted out.

That's not good enough for Richardson. He told reporters in a conference call that he's asking the federal government to investigate whether Kitzhaber and Hayes used their public roles for private financial gain.

"This is about open, transparent and accountable government,” Richardson said. “No one in Oregon should be above the law."

A spokeswoman for the Kitzhaber campaign dismissed the announcement as, "an obvious political stunt."

It's unlikely the U.S. Attorney's office would agree to an investigation before next month's election.