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Clean energy group paid Cylvia Hayes $118,000

SALEM — More of the consulting work done by Gov. John Kitzhaber's fiancée is coming to light.

Cylvia Hayes confirmed in an email to the EO Media Group that she was paid $118,000 over two years to work with a clean energy organization. At the time, she was advising the governor on similar topics.

Neither Hayes nor the organization, the Clean Economy Development Center of Washington, D.C., would provide details about the work she did during a paid fellowship.

Experts on government ethics and the intersection of politics and nonprofits said Hayes' job in particular raises questions, such as whether her compensation was reasonable given the amount of work she did and whether Hayes' employer sought to use the connection to influence state policy.

Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield, said Hayes' employment with the Clean Economy Development Center could create a real or perceived conflict of interest, even if Hayes and Kitzhaber already agreed with the organization's policy positions.

"It may have been the positions were already there, but you should avoid creating situations where people question whether you're doing something because it's good public policy or because it benefits you financially," Redfield said.

Hayes' consulting contracts for organizations seeking to influence public policy became a central issue in Kitzhaber's re-election campaign last year. Her income from the Clean Economy organization had not been previously disclosed.

The Clean Economy Development Center's says it helps public officials launch renewable energy and efficiency projects that create jobs. The organization also worked to shape public policy. In 2014, it conducted polling and organized a coalition to push for an Oregon low-carbon fuel standard. That policy has the support of Kitzhaber and Democratic state lawmakers.

Hayes said she was paid $30,000 in 2011 and $88,000 in 2012. The organization was a tax-exempt nonprofit, but the IRS revoked its tax-exempt status last year because it failed to file returns for three consecutive years.

Hayes told the EO Media Group, which publishes several newspapers including the East Oregonian and the Daily Astorian, that her "primary work was to implement communications strategies promoting clean economy development."

A spokeswomen for the governor did not respond to questions about whether Hayes used the governor's mansion for an event associated with the Clean Economy Development Center. On April 9, 2012, a "Clean Economy dinner meeting" was scheduled at the governor's mansion, according to public records.

Hayes' fellowship was funded by a grant from The Energy Foundation of San Francisco. When the fellowship ended, The Energy Foundation arranged to hire Hayes directly in May 2013 with a contract worth up to $40,000. That contract had been previously disclosed by the governor's office.