Ethics complaint dismissed against three Republican lawmakers

04/03/2018 05:55 PM

FRANKFORT — Three Republican lawmakers who settled a secret sexual harassment settlement with a former House staffer had their charges dismissed on Tuesday by the Legislative Ethics Commission.

Charges against Representatives Brian Linder, Jim DeCesare and Michael Meredith were all dropped by the commission following numerous requests from their lawyers claiming the complaint was not valid. A complaint against former House Speaker Jeff Hoover will continue at a meeting likely to take place on Tuesday, April 10.

Legislative ethics commission prosecutor Michael Malone and counsel for the three lawmakers said Linder and DeCesare sent a text message to the former staffer, while Meredith sent a “vulgar” message to the woman.

The testimony also reveal a payment of $110,000 to the former staffer by Hoover, Linder, DeCesare and Meredith — though not all paid equal amounts. The money came from friends, family and in one case a bank loan.

Legislative Research Commission Director David Byerman confirmed none of the money came from the state.

Commission member Tony Goetz urged lawmakers to pass comprehensive sexual harassment laws for legislators.

“Mud is not very clear and this was about as clear as mud to me, and I think to the general public it’s much clearer because it’s not confused by the facts — it’s not confused by legal machinations, so I think we really have to do something,” he said.

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