I knew you could.
How about s-c-a-m, or f-r-a-u-d….. for that’s what a special legislative committee has just perpetrated upon our Commonwealth.
Yup, we were s-n-o-o-k-e-r-e-d.
Last Thursday a special House committee voted 3-2 (along party lines of course) to disband without taking any action against Representative John Arnold (D-Sturgis in Western Ky.) We should have seen it coming since the group had pussyfooted around for weeks after it was formed doing nothing (except possibly accepting their per diem and travel expenses for going to Frankfort, but then doing zip in FIVE meetings.)
The group was formed to consider disciplinary action against the former lawmaker. In August female staffers of the Legislative Research Commission charged Arnold with sexual harassment. The Speaker named the special committee to probe this situation but a few weeks later Arnold resigned.
It then took 5 meetings, and paying for a private lawyer (the Attorney-General’s office couldn’t have been used for free?) for the 3 Democrats to agree that since Arnold was no longer a House member, as he hadn’t been for 3 months, they no longer had any jurisdiction. 3-2 the group disbanded.
The attorney for the 2 LRC staffers called the action a “sham.” A GOP member agreed little could be done in a disciplinary way but argued that “broader questions” could be examined. Indeed they could—and should have been. IF Arnold committed a crime, he did it WHILE a member, and he did it against employees of the House. That’s jurisdiction enough. (Later at least one other LRC lady staffer also charged she had been the victim of sexual harassment..and the rumor mill ground out gossip that other members were involved. Doesn’t the House want to clear it’s” good name?” (I realize that assumes the House has a good name after the way its special committee acted.) No wonder women working for state government have complained about various incidents over the years.
The committee acted two days after a special election to replace Arnold (who won narrowly the last time), shifted the district, also narrowly, into the GOP camp. You could argue the committee followed the headlines…but I would argue the people in Arnold’s former home district, and a lot of others, would have preferred the committee at least make a stab at getting at the truth.
Meanwhile, Speaker Stumbo says he still expects a report from the group. (Mr. Speaker, it will be a short one.) And I would be delighted if the ACLU or some taxpayers’ watchdog group would file suit insisting that having done nothing, the 5 members are not entitled to anything...which is exactly what they did for us.
And they wonder why legislative groups have such low ratings in the polls. It isn’t just Washington.
I'm just sayin'...