SALEM, Ore. — The thirst for rare bottles of bourbon appears to have cost the CEO and other top officials at Oregon’s liquor and marijuana regulatory agency their jobs.

An internal investigation by the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission, obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request Wednesday, concluded that CEO Steve Marks and five other agency officials had diverted wanted bourbons, including Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Whiskey. , for your personal use.

The officials were paying for the whiskey, which can cost thousands of dollars a bottle, but had used their knowledge and connections on the commission to obtain it and consequently deprived members of the public of the expensive drink, according to the investigation. And that violated Oregon statutes, including one that prohibits public officials from using confidential information for personal gain, according to the commission’s investigation.

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek asked the agency’s board of commissioners Wednesday to remove Marks and the other implicated officials, alleging they «abused their position for personal gain.»

“This behavior is totally unacceptable. I will not tolerate unfair violations of our government’s ethics laws,” Kotek said in his letter to the board of commissioners.

In his responses to the investigator’s questions, Marks denied violating Oregon ethics laws and state policy. However, he acknowledged that he had received preferential treatment «to some extent» in obtaining the whiskey as a commission employee. Marks and the other officials said they never resold the whiskeys they obtained.

«This incident underscores the importance of having public accountability,» said Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the agency. «OLCC shall work to rebuild and restore our public trust … and adhere to Oregon ethics laws.»

After taking office last month, Kotek, a Democrat who was the longtime speaker of the Oregon House of Representatives, called for Marks’ resignation, but no reason was announced. Kotek said he found out about this bourbon thing later.

The board of commissioners is appointed by the governor and, in turn, selects the executive director, according to a commission spokesperson. The next regular meeting of the commissioners is next Wednesday. The agency is the third largest revenue generator in the state.

Kotek has called on Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to conduct an independent civil investigation into the extent of any wrongdoing and recommend stricter protocols to ensure ethics laws are followed.