Gov. John Kitzhaber of Oregon resigned from office Friday amid allegations of criminal behavior.
It was almost exactly one month after being sworn in for an unprecedented fourth term. Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown will replace him.
His resignation is effective Wednesday, he said Friday in a letter.
He announced his resignation amid conflict-of-interest allegations involving his fiancée. There have been suspicions that his fiancee used their relationship to land contracts for her green-energy consulting business. A corruption probe is underway.
The criminal investigation by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum’s office is for the role his fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, has held in his office and whether she used that role to obtain private consulting work.
The attorney general’s investigation will continue, said Rosenblum in a statement after Kitzhaber resigned.
He appears to be the first Oregon governor to face a state AG investigation. He is also under review by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission, although it is on hold until Rosenblum completes her work.
Also on Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s office for Oregon launched its own investigation and filed a subpoena with the Department of Administrative Services requesting financial documents relating to both Kitzhaber and Hayes.
The resignation of the governor instantly promoted the liberal Democrat who is next in line to succeed him: the 54-year-old secretary of state who has long been thought to have her eye on Oregon’s top elected position.
Kate Brown is widely considered to be to the left of the departing Democratic governor. She will also become the first openly bisexual governor in the nation.
Brown will not assume office until Wednesday, when Kitzhaber’s resignation takes effect.