Brown, next in line to be governor, abruptly flies home from D.C.

SALEM, Ore. (AP) As an ethics controversy has prompted calls for Oregon's governor to resign, the woman who would replace him abruptly left a conference in Washington, D.C., to return home Wednesday.

It wasn't clear whether the unscheduled return of Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown had anything to do with the influence-peddling allegations surrounding Gov. John Kitzhaber and his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes.

Brown's spokesman, Tony Green, said he didn't know why Brown left the National Association of Secretaries of State meeting. She's the organization's president.

A spokeswoman for Kitzhaber, Amy Wojcicki, said she doesn't know whether Kitzhaber and Brown have spoken in the past 24 hours.

Brown and Kitzhaber are both Democrats.

Kitzhaber issued a statement Wednesday afternoon.

"Let me be as clear as I was last week, that I have no intention of resigning as Governor of the state of Oregon. I was elected to do a job for the people of this great state and I intend to continue to do so."

Sen. Ted Ferrioli, the state senate GOP leader issued this statement Wednesday: "We decline to comment or offer speculation regarding the future of Gov. Kitzhaber. We look to the governor, the ethics commission and the attorney general for more information."

Newspapers have called for Kitzhaber's resignation over allegations that Hayes used the governor's office to land contracts for her consulting business. She's accused of facilitating meetings and advocating policies that she was being paid to promote.

Kitzhaber has denied wrongdoing and has said he won't step down over the scandal.

He's said he and Hayes worked hard to avoid conflicts between Hayes' public and private roles and said a state ethics commission would decide whether they had succeeded.

Hayes has not publicly addressed the allegations.

Kitzhaber was re-elected by a wide margin three months ago. He easily defeated state Rep. Dennis Richardson, who pounded Kitzhaber over the Hayes scandal.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

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