Shemia Fagan: Oregon secretary of state quits after moonlighting as consultant for $10K a month at weed company

Shemia Fagan: Oregon secretary of state quits after moonlighting as consultant for $10K a month at weed company
Oregon secretary of state Shemia Fagan apologized for taking a job as a consultant for a marijuana company (Screenshot/KOIN6 YouTube)

SALEM, OREGON: Shemia Fagan, the secretary of state for Oregon, resigned after it was discovered that she had worked as a consultant for a struggling cannabis company that had given her campaign almost $250,000. The mother of two claimed on Tuesday, April 2 that she accepted the $10,000 per month position in order to "make ends meet" for her family.

Fagan, 41, said in a news release that her resignation would take effect on Monday, May 8 a week prior to the May 16 election, which is overseen by the Secretary of State's Office, Oregon Live reports. Her position will be filled by Deputy Secretary of State Cheryl Myers until Governor Tina Kotek appoints a replacement to serve out the rest of Fagan's tenure, which lasts until January 2025. The day before she announced her resignation, she cut ties with Veriede Holdings, a division of the legal cannabis company La Mota, apologizing to voters for her "poor judgment by contracting a company that is owned by my significant donors and is regulated by an agency that was under audit by my Audits Division," DailyMail reports. 


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Who is Shemia Fagan? 

Fagan, an attorney, and former state legislator, won the election for secretary of state in 2020. She received $77,000 in salary as secretary of state. She has made a big deal out of her working-class upbringing, saying she grew up "in and out of poverty in Dufur and The Dalles" and that she struggled "early on both at home and at school," according to Oregon Live.


Fagan claimed that when her elementary school teacher introduced her to chess and she went on to become the first female champion of Oregon, her life was forever changed. Eventually, she accepted a position as a consultant at Veriede Holdings after being chosen as the secretary of state. She cited her meager pay and the need to support her two children as unpleasant pressure points that prompted her to look for outside employment.

Why did Shemia Fagan resign?

There is no indication that the secretary of state has broken any laws, but her work with La Mota had raised questions about her judgment. In Oregon, public officials are permitted to hold other employment so long as they don't exploit their positions for their own benefit.


Fagan, however, acknowledged on Monday, May 1 that her work with La Mota was to blame for "harming the trust" between her and the general public, according to DailyMail. She made mention of an ethics probe over her Veriede Holdings contract in her resignation statement.

Fagan stated, "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," according to DailyMail.


"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. I want to thank the incredible staff in the secretary of state's office for their hard work and Oregonians for the opportunity to serve them. It has been a true honor to serve the people of Oregon," the statement concluded. 

Oregon Governor Kotek declared that she agreed with Fagan's resignation. She asserted that it is crucial for Oregonians to have faith in their government and said, "I believe this is a first step in restoring that trust," according to DailyMail.


'This is go to jail for a long time sort of stuff'

Many people have shared their reactions to Fagan's resignation on Twitter with one person writing, "Why allowed to resign? This is go to jail for a long time sort of stuff." Another person wrote, "It's not a Marijuana scandal, it's a CORRUPTION scandal..." A third person wrote, "Is she still employed at La Mota? Just curious. Kind of just resigning to a cushy job and no criminal charges. Not sure how that really fixes what happened or stops it from happening again." Another person wrote, "As an Oregon Democrat, GOOD! Corruption in any party cannot stand and I hope there are further consequences. Disgraceful."







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 Who is Shemia Fagan? Oregon secretary of state quits after backlash over $10K weed job