Republicans Hire Law Firm To Investigate Hoover Scandal

Nov 7, 2017

Credit J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

Republican leaders in the state House of Representatives have hired a law firm to look into sexual harassment allegations against multiple GOP members.

The scandal has already led to the resignation of former House Speaker Jeff Hoover.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne said that “new information regarding this unfolding situation has emerged today.”

Osborne provided no details and said additional information would come as a result of the investigation.

“We remain of the belief that decisions regarding legislators and staff involved should be made when the facts are fully known,” Osborne said in the statement.

Republican lawmakers are meeting on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the ongoing scandal and attempt to jumpstart a proposal to revamp the state’s public pension systems.

Courier-Journal in Louisville first reported that Hoover and three other lawmakers secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint brought on by a female staffer. The report alleged Hoover exchanged sexually charged text messages and requested pictures from the woman.

Hoover resigned from his leadership position on Sunday, denying that he and other lawmakers had committed sexual harassment, but admitting he had exchanged “inappropriate text messages.”

Republican House leaders — not including Hoover — have hired Louisville law firm Middleton Reutlinger to conduct the investigation.

House Democrats released a statement on Tuesday saying they should be consulted in decisions about the investigation.

“Allegations of sexual harassment against multiple members, confidential settlement agreements to prevent public scrutiny, and additional claims of hostile work environment and intimidation of employees all warrant a third-party, independent investigation,” the statement from Democrats said.

“House Majority Leadership’s selection of a person or entity to perform an investigation of harassment claims against its own caucus members cannot, by definition, be independent.”

The other three lawmakers implicated in the scandal are Rep. Brian Linder of Dry Ridge, Rep. Michael Meredith of Oakland and Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green.