A portrait of Oregon Governor Kitzhaber hangs on a wall at the state capital building in Salem, Oregon

Oregon denies money for former first lady's email release fight

A portrait of Oregon Governor Kitzhaber hangs on a wall at the state capital building in Salem, OregonBy Shelby Sebens PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – Oregon denied a request by former Governor John Kitzhaber’s fiancee for state funds to pay for a legal fight related to an influence-peddling scandal that resulted in the four-term Democrat’s resignation, officials said on Thursday. Cylvia Hayes requested in a letter sent by her attorney to the state’s Attorney General last week that taxpayers finance her legal team’s fight against the disclosure of her emails related to state business. The letter argues that Hayes is authorized by state law to obtain special counsel because Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum previously declared Hayes a “public body” in an order requiring her to comply with a public records request. Because of that, Hayes is requesting that the state pay her legal fees and costs.  The Oregon Department of Justice rejected that argument on Thursday, saying it “cannot and will not authorize the expenditure of public funds under these circumstances.” “We see nothing in the statute suggesting that the state is obligated to pay for counsel on behalf of your client,” the state’s Justice Department’s Chief Counsel Steven Wolf said in a letter to Hayes’ attorney Whitney Boise.

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