With missing members, ethics panel passes on charging John Arnold

04/08/2014 06:54 PM

With only five members of the Legislative Ethics Commission present, the sexual harassment charges against former state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, were voted down.

The commission fell short of the five votes needed on Tuesday when one of the members of the commission, Elmer George of Lebanon, voted no on charging Arnold, Jack Brammer of the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

George was just appointed to the commission in January 2014 by House Speaker Greg Stumbo.

Stumbo said the following about Tuesday’s hearing:

“We stand by our original and consistent response; the day we learned of the incident we acted to protect our employees and instructed the LRC Director to investigate the allegations and follow our policy. The testimony today confirms these facts.”

According to the Herald-Leader, the commission heard four hours of testimony from the women who filed complaints against Arnold which later resulted in his resignation.

Judge Anthony M. Wilhoit, the executive director of the legislative ethics commission, said three of the current eight member panel were out of state for the hearing Tuesday.

Wilhoit said the hearing had been scheduled for Tuesday, April 8 for around three weeks after having to be rescheduled because lawmakers could not be called into the hearing (during the legislative session) .

The commission is supposed to have nine members. That ninth seat is to be appointed by the Legislative Research Commission, which is made up of Senate and House leaders, who are divided equally between Democrats and Republicans. That seat has been vacant for two years.

Whilhoit said in a phone interview with Pure Politics that the vacant seat causes problems in situations like the hearing Tuesday because he says it is always better to have more members present to vote on issues.


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