Shemia Fagan, a former secretary of state, was hired by a problematic cannabis company to perform private labor, and the Oregon Government Ethics Commission approved a full probe into this arrangement on Friday.
In the past, Fagan, a former rising star in Oregon Democratic politics, has claimed that she betrayed the public by accepting a $10,000 per month consulting job in February from a couple who control Veriede Holdings, a subsidiary of the La Mota cannabis chain.
Fagan claimed she committed to conducting research on the country’s cannabis regulatory environment for Veriede even though her contract with the company did not specify her exact tasks.
Fagan got in touch with the ethics committee to talk about a prospective side employment but she didn’t ask for a formal opinion. She later told her workers about the deal.
The tweet below confirms the news:
Oregon ethics commission calls for full investigation into Shemia Fagan’s lucrative side hustle https://t.co/oSvSlfpUIy
— Oregonian Business (@OregonianBiz) July 15, 2023
She withdrew from her agency’s audit of the marijuana program run by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission around the time she accepted the position with Veriede Holdings’ founders Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, whom she had criticized as being detrimental to their industry. The audit was nearly finished by that point.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also conducting a federal criminal inquiry into Fagan’s acts.
A number of state departments were served with federal subpoenas on May 24 in order to produce a variety of documents, including Fagan’s employment, compensation, and travel records as well as copious documents pertaining to the audit of the state’s marijuana program and her interactions with Connecticut Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. An individual who was subjected to an FBI questioning claimed that investigators appeared especially focused on Fagan’s potential use of her position for personal advantage.
In an earlier news conference, Fagan said that she had a conversation with Bysiewicz, whom she had previously referred to as a friend, to “just ask who, like, would be somebody for a cannabis company to talk to if they wanted to get the lay of the land.”
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