By Ronnie Ellis
CNHI News Service
The governing arm of the Kentucky General Assembly is ready to sign a contract with an attorney chosen to advise a House Select Committee looking into allegations of sexual harassment against former lawmaker John Arnold of Sturgis.
The committee – made up of Democrats Jeff Donahue of Louisville, Rita Smart of Richmond and Arnold Simpson of Covington and Republicans Richard Benvenuti of Lexington and Julie Raque Adams of Louisville – was appointed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo after three female employees filed complaints against Arnold with the Legislative Ethics Branch.
The allegations became public during the August special session dealing with redistricting and Arnold, while maintaining his innocence, resigned his seat in September.
But the committee has been slow to begin its actual work and some of its members have been frustrated by the delays. In mid-October the committee voted to contract with former Deputy Attorney General Patrick Hughes, now a partner in the northern Kentucky and Cincinnati firm, DBL. But Hughes also represented Gov. Steve Beshear’s administration in a legal challenge to the governor’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act and expansion of Medicaid.
Because Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers were named in that suit, now under appeal, it created a technical conflict of interest. Hughes told CNHI News at the time he expected Stumbo and Stivers – who were named only in their official capacities – to be dropped from the appeal.