Thu February 14, 2013
Bill Blocking Taxpayer Dollars in City Ethics Cases Clears House Panel
A bill requiring Louisville Metro officials and employees to pay for their own defense attorneys when charged with an ethics violation passed a state House committee by a unanimous vote.
State Rep. Larry Clark, D-Louisville, introduced the measure citing the over $180,000 in costs for two cases involving members of the Metro Council in recent years.
"I don’t think it’s fair for the taxpayers to have to pay for a lawyer for those of us in public service," Clark told WFPL earlier this week. "I think we should be held at a higher standard."
The city spent over $110,000 in legal fees in the ethics case against the late former Councilwoman Judy Green. Another $70,000 has been spent for the defense of Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin in a case that is still pending.
The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth reported this week that Clark's bill was amended by the House Local Government committee to also prohibit public funds from being used to pay for a lawyer for whoever filed the ethics complaint.
The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission does not pay for legal counsel in the defense of state lawmakers who are charged with ethics violations.
Clark's bill will now go before the full House for a vote.