Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's office released two new batches of former Gov. John Kitzhaber's emails today in response to requests from many news outlets.
Today's release includes 17,000 pages and more than 5,000 emails from two private accounts Kitzhaber used while governor from January 2011 until February 2015. Most public employees and elected officials use state-owned email accounts. Kitzhaber chose not to do so.
Much of the material released today was contained in emails WW obtained earlier from former Department of Administrative Services IT manager Michael Rodgers. Rodgers turned the emails over to WW in February after a Kitzhaber aide asked that they be deleted from state servers.
Part of today's release includes communication between Kitzhaber and a leading supporter, Scott Campbell, about an economic summit Kitzhaber headlined at Campbell's Eastern Oregon ranch. At the time, WW has reported, Campbell was in trouble with the state because of extensive dam-building he'd done in waterways on his property.
The emails also capture the central role that Cylvia Hayes, Kitzhaber's fiancee and then Oregon's first lady, played in Kitzhaber's administration, even as she was working as a private consultant to groups seeking to affect state policy.
In November 2013, for instance, Hayes emailed Kitzhaber after a meeting of the Pacific Coast Collaborative in San Francisco. (The Pacific Coast Collaborative combines Alaska, British Columbia, California, Oregon and Washington in an effort to work together on economic and climate issues.)
"Hey Dear," Hayes wrote Nov. 11, 2013. "Take a look at this. I did some follow up after our PCC San Fran event."
At that event, California Gov. Jerry Brown mentioned some memoranda of understanding—effectively intergovernmental agreements—his state had recently signed with China regarding climate issues.
Hayes, who was not a state employee but acted as an adviser to Kitzhaber on energy and economic development, asked Kitzhaber's energy adviser, Margi Hoffman, for information.
"Greetings Margi," Hayes wrote Oct. 30, 2013. "Do you have any details on the MOUs Gov. Brown mentioned? I want to look into whether or not this is something Oregon should be moving on given the strength of our relationships with China."
At the time Hayes was inserting herself into climate issues, she was also a paid consultant for groups such as Demos and the Energy Foundation that were seeking to influence state policy.
Hayes forwarded to Kitzhaber a copy of email correspondence between her and Wade Crowfoot, a senior aide to Gov. Brown.
"We have just finalized dates for a US-China Governors Conference this winter in Palm Springs," Crowfoot wrote to Hayes on Oct. 31, 2013. "We view this as the next potential step for the PCC to build the sub-national drumbeat on climate action. We're hopeful that Governor Kitzhaber and you can join us in January considering the importance of the climate change dialogue with China."
Today, Kitzhaber, who resigned Feb. 18, and Hayes remain under federal criminal investigation.