Oregon Sec. of State Fagan resigns after confessing to illegal dealings with cannabis company

 May 3, 2023

Tuesday morning, Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan resigned following reports that she consulted for a private cannabis company while her office audited the state's marijuana program, according to The Washington Examiner.

After May 8, Fagan, a Democrat, will vacate his position. She stated that although she is "confident" that an investigation into her ethical conduct will reveal that she complied with the law, her work for the company has become a "distraction."

“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 in a statement.

“Protecting our state’s democracy and ensuring faith in our elected leaders — these are the reasons I ran for this office. They are also the reasons I will be submitting my resignation today.”

The Confession

Fagan confessed last week that he accepted a position at Veriede Holding, a cannabis company affiliated with La Mota, where he earns an additional $10,000 per month.

According to The Oregonian, Fagan's contract stipulated that she would receive a $30,000 incentive if the company obtained a business license in a state other than Oregon or New Mexico.

In addition to contributing approximately $250,000 to her campaign, the private corporation contributed to other prominent Democrats, including Governor Tina Kotek.

Kotek has urged the Oregon Government Ethics Commission and the Department of Justice to investigate the matter.

Kotek has appointed Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers as interim Secretary of State while a replacement is sought.

“At this time, I believe it is in the best interest of our state for me to focus on my children, my family, and personal reflection so that the secretary of state staff can continue to offer the exemplary customer service Oregonians deserve,” Fagan said in the closing of her statement.

Fagan's Political Future

Friday, recently answered questions about seeking re-election in 2024, Secretary of State Shemia Fagan responded enthusiastically saying, "Hell yes, I'm running," according to Oregon Capitol Insider.

"It’s one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as Secretary of State, and I'd be delighted if Oregonians gave me four more years."

In 2024, the Secretary of State is one of three highest offices up for election. In 2024, the positions of treasurer and attorney general will also be up for election.

Sen. Jeff Merkley won a six-year term in 2020, and Sen. Ron Wyden won re-election last November, so neither of their U.S. Senate seats will be up for election in 2024.

In 2024, there will be a presidential election, so the anticipated turnout will be high. Trump has already proclaimed his candidacy for the Republican nomination. It is anticipated that Vice President Joe Biden will seek reelection and enter the Democratic primaries.

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