John Arnold ethics case

Politics
11:20 am
Wed September 25, 2013

In Kentucky Legislature, Lax Rules Govern Workplace Relationships Despite Long History of Scandal

Kentucky State Capitol
Credit Wikipedia Commons

During the 1990s, the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s public image was shaped primarily by the sordid antics of Kent Downey, whose day job there often overlapped with his sideline business promoting golf trips with scantily clad hostesses offering sex for money.

Downey, who was director of House operations prior to being fired in 1996, sometimes drank and caroused at work. He put strippers on the state payroll and adorned his office with pictures of scantily clad women and a small plant with condoms hanging from the branches.

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Politics
2:03 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Ex-Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Director Says He Shredded Documents

Robert Sherman
Credit Legislative Research Commission

FRANKFORT — The former director of the state Legislative Research Commission says he returned to his office over the weekend and shredded paperwork.

Robert Sherman told The Courier-Journal that the documents included "personalized stuff" such as old salary comparisons. He said none of the paperwork involved anything to do with the sexual harassment allegations involving a former lawmaker or any investigations the agency is involved in.

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Breaking
4:21 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Director Bobby Sherman Resigns

Legislative Research Commission

The director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission has resigned.

In a letter sent Friday afternoon to House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers, LRC director Bobby Sherman announced his resignation following the conclusion of an internal probe into allegations that former state Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, sexually harassed Statehouse employees

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Politics
4:20 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Kentucky Investigative House Committee Meets on John Arnold Case Despite Limited Options

Greg Stumbo
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The special state House committee  investigating sexual harassment allegations against John Arnold may be limited in the sanctions it can levy, but the panel met for the first time Tuesday and considered its options.  

"We still have a responsibility as a committee to make sure we take in all the information and make sure we move forward and do the correct thing" despite Arnold's resignation, said Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville, selected as committee chairman by a 3-2 vote split along party lines.

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Politics
2:41 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Kentucky House Committee Investigating Claims Against John Arnold to Meet on Tuesday

John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

A special state House committee tasked with investigating claims of sexual harassment against outgoing Democratic Rep. John Arnold will meet for the first time Tuesday morning in Frankfort.

The five-member investigating committee formed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, has been given the job of examining claims made by employees of the Legislative Research Commission whom alleged that Arnold sexually harassed and assaulted them over a period of several years.

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Politics
3:41 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

State Rep. John Arnold Resigns, Denies Sexual Harassment Allegations in Letter

John Arnold
Credit Jonathan Meador/WFPL News

State Rep. John A. Arnold Jr. resigned Friday amid allegations that he'd sexually harassed three Statehouse employees.

Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis, turned in his resignation letter to Gov. Steve Beshear. 

"I respect his decision to step aside so that our legislators can focus instead on the business of the state," Beshear said in a statement confirming the receipt of Arnold's letter.

Beshear said he'll begin reviewing options for a special session so that people in Arnold's seventh district will have representation during the 2012 legislative session.

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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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