Oregon secretary of state resigns amid controversy over side gig as Marijuana industry consultant
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced her resignation Tuesday, less than a week after it was revealed that she had taken a lucrative side job.
Fagan, who announced her resignation in a press release, took a second job as a consultant for an embattled cannabis company while her office was auditing the state’s marijuana program.
Fagan’s resignation will take effect May 8. Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Meyers will take over the job on a temporary basis until Gov. Tina Kotek appoints a new secretary of state to serve out Fagan’s term, which runs through January 2025.
This announcement comes after Fagan released details of a $10,000-per-month contract with Veriede Holdings, an affiliate of dispensary chain La Mota. Fagan reportedly ended the contract and apologized for undermining the public’s trust.
“While I am confident that the ethics investigation will show that I followed the state’s legal and ethical guidelines in trying to make ends meet for my family, it is clear that my actions have become a distraction from the important and critical work of the Secretary of State’s Office,” Fagan said, according to The Oregonian.
Fagan, a former state lawmaker and lawyer, was elected secretary of state in 2020. She made $77,000 per year and said she took a side gig due to low pay.
Kotek said in a statement that she supported Fagan’s resignation.
“I support this decision,” Kotek said. “It is essential that Oregonians have trust in their government. I believe this is a first step in restoring that trust. During the upcoming appointment process, my office will do everything possible to support the hard working staff in the Secretary of State’s Office and ensure this will not disrupt the May 16 election.”
Fagan has become the second top state official to step down in the last decade. Former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned in 2015 during an influence-peddling scandal involving him and his fiancee.