PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan announced on Tuesday she is resigning effective Monday, May 8 following calls from the governor for an investigation of her recusal from a state audit on the cannabis industry.

Fagan said she will continue in her official duties until May 8, when Deputy Secretary Cheryl Myers will oversee the agency until Gov. Tina Kotek appoints a new secretary.

“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 Tuesday. “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.”

Kotek issued a statement saying she “support[s] this decision. It is essential that Oregonians have trust in their government. I believe this is a first step in restoring that trust.”

The announcement comes one day after Fagan announced she ended her paid consulting contract with Veriede Holding LLC, an affiliate of the cannabis company La Mota, whose owners have made campaign contributions to the secretary.

“I owe the people of Oregon an apology. I exercised poor judgment by contracting with a company that is owned by my significant political donors and is regulated by an agency that was under audit by my Audits Division. I am sorry for harming the trust that I’ve worked so hard to build with you over the last few years, and I will spend the next two years working hard to rebuild it,” Fagan said in a statement released Monday.

During a press conference on Monday, the secretary said she earned supplemental income by working for La Mota for 15 hours a week and also working at Willamette University Law School where she taught a class for about four hours a week. Fagan said she followed Oregon Government Ethics guidelines and met with the state ethics commission three times before signing the consulting contract.

Fagan said she was struggling to make ends meet as a single mother with two kids on the secretary of state salary that pays $77,000 per year. She says resigning is in the best interest of her and her family.

Fagan also said she met the owners of La Mota — Aaron Mitchell and Rosa Cazares — in 2020 before the couple later donated $45,000 to her campaign.

A recent KOIN 6 News investigation also found that La Mota owns a squatter house in Portland and — as reported by Willamette Week — the company has millions of dollars in state and federal tax liens, lengthy litigation for numerous unpaid bills.

Documents signed in late February show La Mota was paying Fagan $10,000 a month with the opportunity to earn $30,000 in bonuses. That’s when Fagan recused herself from an audit on the cannabis industry that was already near completion.

Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend) said the state needs stronger watchdog laws to avoid this happening in the future.

“I think they need to be tightened up and one way we can do that is ban any outside income,” he said. “There’s no question that the pay needs to be raised but again, it’s not an excuse because people signed up to do this job at this pay and knew what that would.”

In Monday’s press conference, Fagan said she will be donating her Political Action Committee funds to the Oregon Humane Society.

Fagan’s chief of staff, Emily McLain, also announced her resignation on Monday. She did not give a specific reason, but she did say that it was “an honor to serve the people of Oregon in this capacity.”

McLain says her tenure will end no later than June 30.