PORTLAND, Ore. -- Gov. John Kitzhaber's top adviser on the failed Columbia River Crossing project is under investigation for potential violations of state ethics law.

The Oregon Government Ethics Commission decided Friday to formally investigate accusations that Patricia McCaig did not register as a lobbyist as required and had a conflict of interest by working for both the governor and the prime consultant on the project.

The commission's preliminary review says an investigation is warranted because there is substantial objective basis to believe McCaig may have violated ethics laws.

McCaig denied the allegations in a written response to the panel, saying her work was permissible, properly reported and appropriately detailed.

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