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State ethics commission votes to investigate Kitzhaber, Hayes

FILE - In this Jan. 12, 2015, file photo, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber escorts his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, onto the House floor before he is sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term as governor in Salem, Ore. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission has voted to a do full investigation into whether Cylvia Hayes used her relationship as the fiancee of then-Gov. John Kitzhaber to win contracts for her consulting business.

The commission suspended a preliminary review in February 2015, when it learned a criminal investigation was underway.

The U.S. Department of Justice said last month that the pair won't face criminal charges, prompting the ethics panel to restart the preliminary review.

The commission decided Friday to go ahead with a full investigation that could last six months. The vote was unanimous.

Ethics rules bar public officials from using their positions for personal gain. Kitzhaber has maintained he did nothing wrong. He said he resigned in 2015 because the media frenzy prevented him from being effective.

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