Bevin Calls for Resignation of House Speaker, Others in Sexual Harassment Scandal
Governor Matt Bevin did not mince words in a hastily called news conference Saturday afternoon in the Capitol rotunda - taking on members of his own party, without naming any names.
Bevin called for the resignation of any elected official or government worker who settled any sexual harassment cases or "who is party to try to hide the type of behavior", the governor said.
Though Bevin never named him directly, the remarks come after a story reported by the Courier-Journal that House Speaker Jeff Hoover (R-Jamestown) settled a sexual harassment:
Hoover, the leader of the powerful Republican majority in the House of Representatives, reached the agreement last week after receiving a demand letter from the woman’s lawyer over allegations that date to 2016, the sources said, speaking under the condition they remain unnamed because they fear reprisal if identified.
The woman reportedly worked on Hoover's legislative staff.
Hoover has not publicly addressed the story.
Republicans in Frankfort have scrambled to figure out what to do. Hoover cannot be removed as Speaker by the GOP caucus alone. It would require an impeachment proceeding involving the entire legislature. One Republican lawmaker took to Twitter over the past two days to call for Hoover's resignation. Rep. Wes Morgan (R-Richmond) suggested that the scandal is deeper that Hoover's reported settlement:
It appears the Speaker, members of leadership, and some majority staff have conspired to cover up much more than has been disclosed.— Wesley Morgan (@WesleyMorganKY) November 4, 2017
They have conspired to conceal information regarding sexual harassment claims against not only the Speaker, but three chairmen.— Wesley Morgan (@WesleyMorganKY) November 4, 2017
These individuals have went so far as to threaten whistleblowers with loss of employment and physical intimidation.— Wesley Morgan (@WesleyMorganKY) November 4, 2017
House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, a Lancaster Republican, announced the news to a crowd of reporters after a three-hour GOP House caucus meeting Friday originally scheduled to discuss a bill to overhaul Kentucky's public pension system.
"Jeff Hoover is the speaker of the House, and he has the full support of this caucus," Shell said.
On Saturday, Republican leaders announced that they would investigate the claims:
“Because of the allegations and rumors swirling in the media and in the capitol, the majority leadership team of the Kentucky House of Representatives is taking steps to launch an independent investigation so that Members of the House and the general public may know the facts,” House leaders said in a statement. “Because the rumors involve the Speaker of the House, other State Representatives, and members of the House staff, the leadership team concluded that we must find the truth immediately to assure the public that the new Republican majority takes this matter seriously. We are not going to operate on rumor and innuendo; we are going to make decisions based on facts.”
Watch Gov. Bevin's press conference:
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher