John Arnold ethics case

Local News
3:51 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Speaker Greg Stumbo: Legislative Leaders Should Discuss John Arnold Case Publicly

Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo wants to open a closed-door meeting of the Legislative Research Commission scheduled for Wednesday that will discuss an internal investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Rep. John A. Arnold by two longtime state house staffers.

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Politics
4:17 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

House Speaker Stumbo Appoints Investigative Panel to Examine Harassment Claims Against John Arnold

Credit File photo

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has appointed a panel of five legislators who will investigate allegations of sexual harassment against state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis, which could result in the embattled lawmaker's removal from office.

The speaker said on Thursday that the accusations against Arnold made by two longtime female staffers has become a distraction in the House, and needs to be resolved.

The committee will be made up of three Democrats and two Republicans, including two women. It will submit a final report to the 100-member House during the legislative session in January.

The investigative committee:

  • Rep. Arnold Simpson, D-Covington
  • Rep. Rita Smart, D-Richmond
  • Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville
  • Rep. Julie Adams, R-Louisville
  • Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington

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Politics
5:43 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

State Lawmakers Point Out Speaker Stumbo's 'Evolving' Position on John Arnold Scandal

Greg Stumbo
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky lawmakers from both parties are questioning the timing of Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo's decision to begin a process that may lead to the possible censure or removal Rep. John Arnold over sexual harassment allegations.

And Republicans argue Stumbo's decision contradicts earlier statements from the speaker's office that lawmakers shouldn't interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this week, Stumbo said he disagreed with a call by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers for General Assembly leaders to discuss the Legislative Research Commission's ongoing probe in a closed-door session.

When Stivers called for a Sept. 4 meeting between Senate and House leaders, he said it was to learn more about the status of an LRC probe being led by attorney Cheryl Lewis, who was hired by Stumbo's office.

But the speaker balked at that request Wednesday evening.

And on Thursday afternoon, Stumbo announced the petition and an appointment of a special committee to look into the allegations, which could potentially remove Arnold from office.

"This position is inconsistent but that has been his course of conduct over the last 10 days," says Stivers. "While I applaud the speaker for seeking proportional punishment for the alleged acts, that does not resolve the problem of the legislature’s exposure to threatened litigation and money judgments. It also does not resolve the most significant problem which is how to address the culture that has been exposed by the actions of Rep. Arnold."

(Past coverage of the Arnold ethics case from WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.)

Part of this week's dueling statements between Stivers and Stumbo is a bit of political gamesmanship and difference in opinion on how to handle the scandal, which surprised lawmakers in the midst of the special legislative session.

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Politics
3:35 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Stumbo Calls for Investigation of Rep. John Arnold, Could Lead to Censure or Expulsion

Greg Stumbo
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a petition that would allow the House to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Representative John Arnold, D-Sturgis.

State lawmakers could then vote to censure or expel the Western Kentucky lawmaker.

In addition to the petition, the House Committee on Committees is sending Arnold a letter saying that he will be suspended as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.

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Politics
8:33 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Senate President Pushes Kentucky Legislative Leaders to Meet on John Arnold Investigation

Senate President Robert Stivers (l) and House Speaker Greg Stumbo (r)
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonburg, is declining to meet with leaders in the General Assembly to discuss an investigation of sexual harassment claims made against Democratic state Rep. John Arnold by Statehouse staffers.

In two separate complaints, Legislative Research Commission employees Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner allege Arnold sexually harassed and assaulted them over a period of three years.

A third female staffer, Gloria Morgan, has also come forward claiming Arnold touched her inappropriately in 2009. All three say their supervisors did not do enough to address the complaints. 

Stivers is calling for a closed door session on Sept. 4 with Senate and House leaders to learn more about the status of an investigation into the issue. Because this is a personnel matter, legislative leaders are required to meet in executive session, which requires three of the four highest-ranking lawmakers to be present.

Stivers says since Arnold's accusers have retained legal counsel, it is necessary for lawmakers to know what investigations have been conducted, and what actions may need to be taken.

"I spoke with [Senate Democratic] Leader [R.J.] Palmer and he agreed that we need to call the LRC into executive session on September 4. I have also spoken with [House Republican] Leader [Jeff] Hoover regarding this course of action and he’s in agreement," Stivers said in a statement to WFPL. "The speaker's office has declined to go into session to apprise us of what investigations are going on and who’s conducting them."

The split on the meeting demonstrates a difference in opinion between Stumbo and Stivers in how the complaints should be handled.

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Politics
7:43 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

State Rep. John Arnold's Accusers File Complaint Against Employer Alleging Race Discrimination

Credit File photo

Two women who filed formal ethics complaints against Kentucky state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr. have also filed complaints with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights. The complaints allege both Arnold and the women’s employer, the Legislative Research Commission, discriminated against them on the basis of race and gender.

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Local News
3:31 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

Rep. Tom Riner Calls for Rep. John Arnold's Resignation From Kentucky General Assembly

John A. Arnold Jr.
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

State Rep. Tom Riner is calling for the resignation of his House colleague John A. Arnold Jr., who is facing sexual harassment allegations from three separate Statehouse employees.

Riner told WFPL on Monday that Arnold's resignation would spare the three accusers from the process that follows the complaints they've recently filed in the state Legislative Ethics Commission.

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Politics
5:11 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Bill Requiring Sexual Harassment Training for Kentucky Lawmakers Expected in January

Kathy Stein (left), Joni Jenkins and Katie Stine
Credit Legislative Research Commission

State Rep. Joni Jenkins plans to introduce a formal bill during the next meeting of the Kentucky General Assembly that would make sexual harassment training mandatory for state lawmakers.

But state Sen. Katie Stine is questioning whether such a bill would be a "placebo."

The House on Friday unanimously approved a resolution calling for mandatory sexual harassment training—but it doesn't carry the weight of law.

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Local News
4:59 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Document | Third Ethics Complaint Filed Against State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr.

A third Legislative Research Commission employee, Gloria Morgan, has filed an ethics complaint against state Rep. John A. Arnold Jr., alleging that he touched her inappropriately. Morgan's complaint follows those filed Friday by Cassaundra Cooper and Yolanda Costner.

Here's the story about Morgan's complaint.

You can read the full document below:

Local News
4:48 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Third Woman Accuses Rep. John Arnold of Sexual Harassment, Says State Failed to Act

Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

A third Kentucky Statehouse staff member has filed a complaint with the Legislative Ethics Commission, alleging that state Rep. John Arnold touched her inappropriately in 2009 and that a supervisor at the Legislative Research Commission, where she works, failed to act after she reported Arnold’s conduct.

The complaint filed by Gloria Morgan, 55, with the ethics commission on Thursday afternoon accuses Arnold of walking beside her as she left her office, stroking her back and asking her if she was going to “come out and play” that night.

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