Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber will pay twenty thousand dollars for violating state ethics laws. As Dirk VanderHart reports, the new settlement is less than a potential fifty thousand dollar fine Kitzhaber faced.
The fine was approved unanimously by the Oregon Ethics Commission. It’s a much lower penalty than Kitzhaber might have paid, but also far higher than a settlement proposed last year.
Ethics Commission vice chair Richard Burke says the fine strikes the right balance.
"A factor that played into this was the fact that Dr Kitzhaber was contrite and did not contest the findings of the ethics commission." Burke says.
The violations stem from a conflict of interest scandal that unfolded in 2015. It ultimately led to Kitzhaber’s resignation. State officials have said the former governor took actions while in office that helped steer business to his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes.
Kitzhaber acknowledges violating the law, but has said it wasn’t intentional. The case surrounding Hayes remains open.