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Sources Say: Tables turn for Kitzhaber, Hayes, federal investigator

What effect will the suspension of Oregon U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall have on the ongoing federal investigation into former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes?

Marshall was placed on leave after being accused of stalking a male subordinate just after the State of Oregon was scheduled to produce numerous documents subpoenaed by the U.S. Department of Justice as part of its investigation into allegations of influence peddling. Marshall’s position is being temporarily filled by her immediate subordinate, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Billy Williams. Unlike Marshall, he was not nominated by a president or confirmed by the U.S Senate for the position.

President Obama, who, ultimately, is responsible for the operation of the Oregon office, seemed ambivalent about the accusations facing Kitzhaber when asked about his resignation by KGW-TV News in February.

“You know, these things are always difficult,” Obama told Channel 8’s reporter, Laurel Porter. “I didn’t follow it closely. I wish him the best, but ultimately, the people of Oregon have to have confidence in their leadership.”

Campaign reformers try again

Campaign finance reform supporters are taking another run at limiting campaign contributions, and they have the support of Oregon’s new governor, Kate Brown. When she was still Secretary of State, Brown filed a proposed amendment to the Oregon Constitution to allow the Legislature to limit campaign contributions. Although it has not yet been scheduled for a hearing, Senate Joint Resolution 5 has the support of Oregon Common Cause, the League of Women Voters, and activists like Jeff Lang of Portland.

“We’ve been in Salem talking to legislators, and even Republicans are in favor of it. They hate the current system, where they have to spend so much time raising money because campaigns are so expensive,” Lang says.

Oregon voters overwhelmingly approved campaign finance limits in 1994. But initiative Measure 9 was overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court, which said it violated the state Constitution’s free speech guarantees.

In the meantime, money rolls in

Although Brown has not yet announced her future political plans, she has received a number of large contributions since pressure began building on Kitzhaber to resign. Brown became governor six days after Kitzhaber announced his resignation on Feb. 12.

The Oregonian called for Kitzhaber to step down on Feb. 4. Three days after that, Brown received $5,000 from Curtis Thompson, a Portland physician. The day after being sworn in, she received $1,000 from Arnold Polk, a Beaverton attorney. On March 4, she received $2,500 from Stephen Petruzelli, a Tigard businessman and Oregon Business Association member, and $1,000 from Herbert Rothschild Jr, director of Peace House, a nonprofit that promotes social justice. The next day, she received $1,000 from John Silverton-Stewart, an Antelope attorney.

A special election will be held to fill the remainder of Kitzhaber’s term next year.

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