A scandal that had been boiling over into the headlines of all surrounding regional media in Kentucky involving House Speaker Jeff Hoover has now come to the possible end of it's news cycle as Jeff Hoover announced his resignation today.
While giving a public speech at a news conference in the Capitol Building located in Frankfurt, Kentucky; Jeff Hoover said that he will no longer be a civil servant to the Kentucky House as per Speaker effective immediately.
Representative Jeff Hoover will continue to be exactly that however, serving as the 83rd District's elected official in the Kentucky House which he says is in the best interest of both the general public and his own family who have been thoroughly embarrassed as a result of the continued scandalous headlines.
For those outside the State of Kentucky who are unaware, Representative Hoover recently settled a sexual harassment claim by a former member of his staff outside of court for an undisclosed amount of cash.
A staff member for the House Republican Caucus said she was “basically put on paid suspension” for reporting a “toxic” workplace culture that included sexual harassment in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
Daisy Olivo, the communications director for the House Republican caucus, said after she approached House Speaker Jeff Hoover on Sept. 5 about an employee who was concerned about returning to work because of a hostile work environment, she was shut out of conversations.
“Since I reported this to Jeff Hoover I have become effectively isolated,” Olivo said. “We have been shut out of everything.”
Several media outlets including the Courier-Journal <a href="http://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/politics/ky-legislature/2017/11/05/jeff-hoover-resigns-house-speaker-over-sexual-harassment-cover-up/833385001/">broke the shocking story this past Thursday </a>in which allegations publicly have brought down criticisms across the State of Kentucky including from the Governor.
Yesterday Governor Matt Bevan publicly decried the embarrassment to the State Legislature from the allegations and called for the immediate resignation of lawmakers or state employees who have settled sexual harassment claims.
While Hoover isn't fulfilling the request for a full resignation him leaving the position of House Speaker he hopes will suffice to say that he made somewhat of an effort to remove the glaring spotlight.
On Sunday, Hoover for the first time admitted that he sent inappropriate text messages to the unknown woman, but said all of his actions were consensual and he committed no wrongdoing in the process.
As he held back tears, in a shameful effort to gain support whilst being unaware that he is clearly at fault, Hoover apologized to the people of Kentucky and asked for forgiveness from them and his family.
The role of Speaker will be filled by David Osborne, who's held a temporary position in recent weeks and as of today he assumes full operational control of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
In a newly released statement by the Kentucky House including David Osborne, House Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher, and Majority Caucus Chairman David Meade; the group told of their acceptance in the resignation as well as their disdain for plebs who would embarrass the legislature as a whole.
<blockquote>"With each passing hour Saturday night, it became clear to us that the distraction of this matter was threatening to effectively halt the operation of the Kentucky House. The people’s business cannot be set aside because of a situation involving any individual member. Speaker Hoover made the right decision.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”No one person is bigger than the institution to which we are elected, and nothing can be allowed to distract us from the tasks at hand: solving the pension crisis and writing a state budget under the most challenging circumstances anyone in Frankfort can remember.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”With Jeff’s resignation, Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne assumes operational control of the Kentucky House of Representatives. We will follow constitutional and legal guidelines regarding House leadership moving forward.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”The independent investigation we announced yesterday will continue. What we have seen in the press and on social media is troubling and must be thoroughly investigated. We do not condone sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior among House members and staff persons, and it is imperative we find the whole truth. We are beyond disappointed that we were kept in the dark about these troubling issues, but we are committed to separating facts from rumors and providing a full report to the public.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”This leadership team is removing implicated committee chairmen from their roles, pending the outcome of the investigation. We will assess their futures when the results of the investigation are known.”</blockquote>
<blockquote>”We are meeting with legal counsel Monday to assess options regarding the staff members mentioned in the reports. We are committed to treating everyone fairly while respecting the need for the investigation to remain as independent as possible. We need a fully functioning staff to serve the Members of the House, especially as we work through the pension crisis. We will make additional announcements regarding staffing on Monday.</blockquote>
<blockquote>”This is an unfolding situation and no one in the capitol has all the facts. We are asking any member of the House Republican caucus who is or believes they will be implicated in this matter to inform this leadership team immediately if their name has not already surfaced in the public domain. We were blindsided but remain determined to get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible.”</blockquote>
There is still the impending investigation into the allegations that could result in either charges or the full resignation from Hoover from office all together.
The Governor of Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin has demanded anyone involved to resign.
"I am calling for the immediate resignation of every individual who has settled a sexual harassment case who is party to trying to hide this type of behavior," Bevin said. He stressed that the new allegations have not been denied and that they "were not isolated to a single person or a single event but involve multiple events and multiple people."
Hoover has fired back and underscored that again today saying it was all consensual.
"The governor has yet to ask our side of the story, he and I have not spoken since the story broke, and I did not receive a courtesy call from him before his grandstanding today," Hoover said. "In effect, the governor seeks to be judge, jury, and executioner without hearing the evidence."
Kentucky’s House of Representatives may soon be getting back on track and can hopefully put the scandal behind them without major backlash against the entire party.
House GOP leaders said they plan to hire a private law firm to investigate the allegations. The leaders said they did not consult Hoover about the decision to launch an investigation, but had told him about it. The release said the investigators would have the power to subpoena witnesses.
"Speaker Hoover, as of now, has the support of the Republican caucus to remain in his leadership position," according to a statement attributed to Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne, Majority Leader Jonathan Shell, Majority Whip Kevin Bratcher and Majority Caucus chairman David Meade. "And we reserve the right, based on the results of the investigation, to revisit the status of anyone involved, including Speaker Hoover."
We will now have to watch and wait and see how this unfolds.
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