Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber said today that First Lady Cylvia Hayes would have no role in his administration for the next four years.
A visibly nervous and wan Kitzhaber took questions for 20 minutes at a press conference in state offices at 800 NE Oregon St., addressing the worsening revelations about how Hayes benefited from her access to the governor's office.
Expressing contrition, Kitzhaber said he wanted to "acknowledge the legitimacy of some of these questions."
Hayes, whom Kitzhaber said is traveling in Sweden before heading to Berlin, was not present.
Kitzhaber pointedly declined to answer questions raised earlier this week about whether Hayes falsified her tax returns for 2011 and 2012 after receiving $118,000 from the the Clean Economy Development Center, a now-defunct Washington, D.C. nonprofit.
"Clearly, these are very serious allegations," Kitzhaber said. But he said such questions should be directed toward Hayes, whom he says he still loves. "I have no regrets about entering into a relationship with Cylvia Hayes," he later added.
Kitzhaber batted away questions about whether he had allowed Hayes to sell access to his officeâat one point comparing himself to the press-averse Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.
He said such questions would be properly addressed by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission.
Kitzhaber added he would not resign. "Of course not," he said.
Although the governor presumably called the press conference to put the issue of Hayes' business dealings behind him, his staff abruptly ended the event well before reporters' questions had all been answered.