Jeff Hoover

Hearing Set for Kentucky Lawmakers Accused of Harassment

Mar 5, 2018
LRC Public Information

An ethics commission in Kentucky has scheduled a hearing for four Republican lawmakers who signed a secret sexual harassment settlement.

The Legislative Ethics Commission will meet April 3 at 9 a.m. The hearing is the result of an ethics complaint filed by a Democratic lawmaker against former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and GOP Reps. Jim DeCesare, Michael Meredith and Brian Linder.

Ex-Kentucky House Speaker in Ethics Probe Runs Unopposed

Jan 31, 2018
LRC Public Information

Kentucky's former House speaker, embroiled in an ethics investigation after acknowledging he signed a secret sexual harassment settlement, will face no opposition in his quest to win re-election in his heavily Republican district.

No one stepped forward before Tuesday's candidate filing deadline to challenge state Rep. Jeff Hoover in the rural district he has represented for two decades.

Hoover's unopposed path to re-election comes as Republicans look to solidify their dominance in the state legislature and unseat the only Kentucky Democrat left in Congress.

Kentucky House GOP Caucus Chief of Staff Resigns

Jan 26, 2018
J. Tyler Franklin, WFPL

The chief of staff for the Kentucky House Republican Caucus has resigned amid fallout from a sexual harassment scandal involving four Republican lawmakers.

The Herald-Leader reports Ginger Wills resigned Friday. House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell confirmed her resignation but offered no details.

Wills was chief of staff under former House Speaker Jeff Hoover. Hoover stepped down as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he was one of four Republican lawmakers to sign a secret sexual harassment settlement with a woman who once worked for the caucus. Wills was also named in the settlement, accused of creating a hostile work environment.

Ryland Barton

The former Kentucky House speaker who stepped down after signing a secret sexual harassment settlement is running for re-election.

The Secretary of State's website shows that Jeff Hoover filed paperwork Thursday to seek re-election. Hoover resigned as speaker earlier this month after acknowledging he and three other GOP lawmakers signed a secret sexual harassment settlement involving a woman who once worked for the House Republican caucus. Hoover did not resign his seat in the legislature.

Ryland Barton

This week, the state legislature continued to preoccupy itself with a sexual harassment scandal in the House of Representatives. After saying he would resign, and then he wouldn’t, Rep. Jeff Hoover formally resigned his post as Speaker of the House.

Meanwhile, a new pension bill still hasn’t emerged. But on Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin got some good news in the form of federal approval for his proposal to overhaul the state’s Medicaid system.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Ryland Barton has this week’s edition of Kentucky Politics Distilled.

Alix Mattingly

The Kentucky House has voted to do away with a special committee that was investigating allegations that former House Speaker Jeff Hoover sexually harassed a staffer.

The bipartisan committee was created after 8 Republican lawmakers filed a complaint against Hoover under a new disciplinary rule last week.

The House voted 90-0 to abolish that rule on Wednesday.

Ryland Barton

State Rep. Jeff Hoover may have stepped down from his position as speaker of the House, but he’s not going away quietly.

Hoover continues to lash out against fellow lawmakers who filed a complaint to have him expelled from the chamber because of sexual harassment allegations.

That complaint process was created under a week-old disciplinary rule, which Hoover said was written to specifically punish him — it creates an investigatory committee if at least two lawmakers file a complaint against another member.

J. Tyler Franklin

House Speaker Jeff Hoover has submitted a letter of resignation and will officially step down from the speakership after saying he wouldn’t do so last week. He will keep his seat in the state House of Representatives.

Hoover delivered a fiery speech Monday, denying that he sexually harassed a staffer and accusing Gov. Matt Bevin and fellow lawmakers of spreading “lies from hell.”

“[Bevin] said we were sexually involved. He said that we were texting when this staffer was a teenager,” Hoover said. “Ladies and gentleman, I will tell you and I will tell this governor, those are lies from the deepest pits of hell.”

J. Tyler Franklin

The Kentucky General Assembly was back in session this week and despite promises to come up with solutions to the state’s pension crisis, much of lawmakers’ attention has been on the sexual harassment scandal still unfolding in the House of Representatives.

House Speaker Jeff Hoover’s name was back up on the lectern at the front of the House of Representatives, despite promises to step down last year after allegations surfaced that he had secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint made by a former staffer and tried to cover it up.

J. Tyler Franklin

special committee investigating sexual harassment allegations against House Speaker Jeff Hoover met for the first time Friday.

The panel was formed after a group of eight Republican lawmakers filed a formal complaint against Hoover seeking his expulsion from the legislature.

The group says Hoover “irreparably damaged” the reputation of the state House of Representatives by allegedly sexually harassing a staffer and signing a confidential settlement agreement to cover it up.

Ryland Barton

A special committee in the state House of Representatives will investigate whether Republican House Speaker Jeff Hoover sexually harassed a former staffer.

The committee was formed under a recently-created rule after eight GOP lawmakers filed a complaint against Hoover on Wednesday.

The complaint alleges that Hoover broke the law and “irreparably damaged” the reputation of the state House of Representatives by allegedly sexually harassing a staffer and trying to cover it up.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky lawmakers attended a mandatory sexual harassment prevention session on Wednesday, a day after the House speaker announced he wouldn’t resign his seat amid a harassment scandal.

Rep. Joni Jenkins, a Democrat from Louisville, said lawmakers took the training session more seriously than in previous years.

“Maybe less laughter in the room,” Jenkins said. “I don’t think our capital is any different from any other workplace. I think there’s always the potential for people to abuse their power and to not be culturally sensitive and not be gender sensitive.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover is not resigning his leadership position, despite saying he would in November after admitting to confidentially settling a sexual harassment complaint made by a staffer.

In a statement distributed Tuesday, Hoover said he would temporarily give powers of the speakership to Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne while the Legislative Ethics Commission investigates a complaint that Hoover and his staff retaliated against another staffer for blowing the whistle on the allegations.

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Matt Bevin says he expects former House Speaker Jeff Hoover to officially step down from his leadership position when the legislature goes back into session on Jan. 2.

Hoover announced he was stepping down from his role as speaker last month after admitting he exchanged sexually-charged text messages with a staffer.

Ryland Barton

A campaign finance expert says it doesn’t appear that former Kentucky House Speaker Jeff Hoover violated any laws when he secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint. 

A whistleblower lawsuit filed this week by a staffer for the House Republican Caucus claims Hoover used funds from campaign donors to settle with his accuser and to keep the matter out of court. 

John Steffen, executive director of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, says there’s a difference between campaign funds and campaign donors.

"If it's money contributed to his campaign, then that wouldn't be something he could use the money for," Steffen told WKU Public Radio.  "However, if an individual that's a typical donor to his campaign was to give him money just outright, that's outside the scope of campaign finance laws."