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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.

Oregon Ethics Panel To Discuss First Lady's Actions

Michael Clapp

Some of the issues that nagged Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber in the closing weeks of his re-election campaign have yet to be resolved.

But some answers could be forthcoming as the state's Ethics Commission is set to take up the case of Oregon first lady Cylvia Hayes Friday.

The panel is meeting for the first time since questions were raised last month about whether Hayes used her title for personal gain. Republicans have accused Hayes of using her relationship with the governor as a way of landing lucrative consulting contracts. They've asked for a full-scale investigation.

Governor Kitzhaber doesn't think that's needed but he has asked the commission to clarify what role the first lady can play in his administration. He insisted everything the first lady did was above board.

"I believe that we took an abundance of caution to ensure that we complied with Oregon's ethics statutes,” Kitzhaber said. “I still believe that we did and of course the Ethics Commission will make a ruling on this."

Kitzhaber said regardless of what the Commission decides, Hayes won't take on any more consulting gigs until Kitzhaber leaves office. But he said she could still have an advisory role in his administration depending on the Ethics Commission's ruling.