Republicans Hire Law Firm To Investigate Hoover Scandal

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But a report this week in the Courier-Journal claims Speaker Hoover settled a sexual harassment suit with a young female staffer threatening to derail not only his leadership role but the pension reform bill debate.

Kentucky's House Republican leaders say they have hired a law firm to advise them on personnel matters following a sexual harassment settlement that resulted in the resignation of the Republican House speaker.

"Allegations of sexual harassment against multiple members, confidential settlement agreements to prevent public scrutiny, and additional claims of hostile work environment and intimidation of employees all warrant a third-party, independent investigation", the statement from Democrats said. "We are reviewing that information and the allegations surrounding it to determine whether or not there is a violation of federal law". A spokesman said more information would be released later in the week.

Lawmakers would not identify the law firm or say how much they would be paid. "I am resigning at this time as Speaker of the House", Hoover said.

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"To say that the past few weeks and days have been trying and hard for me and my family would be an understatement", Hoover said in a statement.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that the staff member who accused Hoover and others of sexual harassment planned to resign. "We did not ask for it", the statement said. "Instead, the entire Legislative Research Commission should be consulted for the objective of determining how best to obtain the independent and impartial investigation we all know is necessary".

Jim DeCesare, Brian Linder and Michael Meredith, who have been removed as committee chairmen pending the investigation's outcome - also denied any wrongdoing. An attorney representing that person declined to comment.

A legislative official who has seen a copy of the letter confirmed the names.

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Republican House leaders - not including Hoover - have hired Louisville law firm Middleton Reutlinger to conduct the investigation.

"At this point, Speaker Pro-Tem Osborne assumes control of the House of Representatives, as well as myself and our majority leadership staff", Wills wrote.

"House Majority Leadership's selection of a person or entity to perform an investigation of harassment claims against its own caucus members can not, by definition, be independent".

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