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Emails shed more light onto scandal

PORTLAND — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has released the final batch of emails from her predecessor, John Kitzhaber.

The nearly 3,000 pages of emails released Friday continue to show how doggedly Kitzhaber worked to incorporate his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, into his administration, The Oregonian reported. Tens of thousands of pages were released last summer pursuant to public records requests.

Hayes and Kitzhaber remain under federal investigation in connection with six-figure consulting deals Hayes won to push environmental policies at the same time she was advising Kitzhaber's office on poverty and energy goals. Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015 as concerns of influence-peddling emerged.

In one of the newly released emails, dated July 8, 2014, Kitzhaber suggested Hayes should be "intimately involved" in crafting Oregon's next budget, and not just because her work could improve it.

"It would be an invaluable experience for you," he continued, "if you decide to run for office in Oregon."

The documents also show how often Kitzhaber turned to Hayes as a confidant and how he struggled with the right way to put her in the spotlight. In August 2013, he tasked her with helping shepherd his office's anti-poverty work.

"This may offer us an opportunity to bring all of this together, not only our policy staff and our community based implementation efforts but more importantly to get you and I out of our silos and really do this together," he wrote that month.

In October, he consulted with her on the agenda for a staff retreat where his office would plot its upcoming year. And in December 2013, he demanded tighter rules around how his office handled scheduling, "as Cylvia becomes more integrated into the administration."

Kitzhaber wrote a draft plan for her "portfolio" that same month. It listed "oversight" responsibilities on economic issues and clearly calling her "a policy advisor on energy, climate and the clean economy."

After resigning, Kitzhaber moved to Bend with Hayes, who refashioned herself as a freelance journalist early this year.

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber, center, is joined by his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, as he is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term by Senior Judge Paul J. De Muniz in Salem on Jan. 12, 2015. AP PHOTO