SALEM, - Katherine Keene, embattled chief executive of SAIF Corp., resigned Wednesday following reports of high-priced lobbying efforts by the state-owned workers' compensation insurer.

SAIF's senior vice president, Brian Steffel, also stepped down from his post at the public corporation, which was hit last week with an ethics complaint filed by a state senator.

SAIF has been under fire since invoices released last month showed it has paid more than $1.5 million to former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and former House Speaker Larry Campbell for lobbying and consulting.

That was more than SAIF reported to lawmakers and to the state Government Standards and Practices Commission, which regulates lobbying.

Last week, state Sen. Vicki Walker, D-Eugene, filed a complaint with the commission claiming that SAIF underreported its lobbying expenses by more than $1 million.

The announcement of the departures of SAIF's two top executives was made by the SAIF Board, which said it accepted the resignations "with regret" and praised both officials.

SAIF spokesman Ken Van Osdol said both Keene and Steffel will be going to work for another workers' compensation insurance company, Marsh Inc.

"Neither one of them was asked to resign," Van Osdol said. "They both were offered great opportunities at another company, and they decided to pursue it."

After filing the ethics complaint against SAIF, Walker called on Gov. Ted Kulongoski to "shake up" the SAIF board of directors and to seek Keene's removal.

In response, Kulongoski last week asked the SAIF board to review the company's lobbying expenditures.

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