This afternoon, two major breaking news items hit back to back, indicating that the water is reaching full boil under Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber. So far, all indications are that he’s still digging in his heels, but he appears to be in significant legal trouble. The Kitzhaber scandal is about to get a whole lot worse.
First, a joint report by KINK-FM, Willamette Week and KXL News Radio confirmed that
Kitzhaber’s office sent a formal request to the state archives to have his emails deleted. This constitutes probable evidence tampering and destruction of state records, both felonies under state law.
As reported by Willamette Week,
Records show the request to destroy Kitzhaber’s emails came from Jan Murdock, Kitzhaber’s executive assistant. She wanted all emails from Kitzhaber’s personal email accounts removed from state servers. The request from Murdock was described in a Feb. 5 email. “Governor’s office wants anything that is in the email account [Kitzhaber’s account] removed from archive,” wrote Tracy Osburn, a field technician in the DAS Technology Support Center, wrote in the email obtained by WW and 101.9 KINK/FM News 101 KXL. Personal emails of public officials can be subject to the state’s open records laws if they are used to discuss public business. Earlier documents previously released by the governor’s office show Kitzhaber used both his personal and state email accounts to communicate with his aides and discuss state business.
The governor’s office has not yet responded to requests for an interview.
The request from Kitzhaber’s office to destroy emails came one day before the Oregon Department of Justice opened a criminal investigation into the allegations against him and Hayes.At the time Kitzhaber’s office requested emails be destroyed, the governor and Hayes faced a pending Oregon Government Ethics Commission investigation. WW had earlier reported that the FBI had opened an investigation.
Then, around 3pm, Washington County Deputies arrived at Kitzhaber’s Southwest Portland home. No word yet on what they’re doing there, despite rampant speculation.
Three deputies & trooper just arrived outside Governor Kitzhaber’s home. pic.twitter.com/XGNHbQy1zy
— Kyle Iboshi (@KyleIboshi) February 12, 2015
Whatever it is, it can’t be good news for the Governor.