No tax dollars used in sexual harassment settlement, LRC director says

11/16/2017 03:24 PM

UPDATED The sexual harassment settlement reached by former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and others with a legislative staffer was not paid with tax dollars, Legislative Research Commission Director David Byerman said Thursday.

“No taxpayer dollars have been used to pay any settlement claim in this matter, or in any such matter in my two years as Director of the Legislative Research Commission,” Byerman said in a statement.

“Controls are in place that require proper authorization before any disbursements are made from any legislative account. Disbursements to settle legal claims can only be made when authorized by the Speaker and President on their joint authority, pending ratification by the full Legislative Research Commission in an open meeting. No such authorization or ratification has occurred in this matter.”

Hoover, R-Jamestown, acknowledged reaching the settlement in an emotional news conference in which he stepped down as the leader of the House Republican caucus.

Hoover said he acted inappropriately with the female staffer, but he said their communications via text message were consensual and that all who signed the settlement did not admit wrongdoing as part of the agreement.

Others who reportedly signed the agreement were GOP Reps. Jim DeCesare, Brian Linder and Michael Meredith, although only Linder has acknowledged his part in the settlement. They have been temporarily suspended as committee chairmen pending the outcome of the inquiry.

House Republican leaders have launched their own independent investigation into the matter.

Daisy Olivo, communications director for House Republicans, said GOP leadership in the lower chamber “doesn’t have knowledge of the monetary source for any sexual harassment complaint settlement” when asked about the source and sum of the settlement in light of Byerman’s comments.

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