Director, Commonwealth Policy Center

Kentucky House Representative John Arnold was found liable by the KY Legistlative House Ethics Commission concerning allegations by three former staffers that he sexually harassed them. The Commission’s votes finally numbered to the required tally-5 to 1-after failing to do so last month.  The Commission punished Arnold with a $3,000 fine, or $1,000 for each of his ethics violations against a staffer.

Arnold’s resignation in September means that further action by the Kentucky House is unlikely, but Arnold still faces an ongoing civil suit filed by the alleged victims. According to video posted by C2n, plaintiff Caussandra Cooper said that the decision by the Commission “gives hope” to others who have thus far remained silent about similar treatment by the former Representative. “They are still afraid,” Cooper said.

House Republicans and others have expressed concern over the appearance of political maneuvering in the case. According to the Free Beacon, the alleged victims first notified party leadership of Arnold’s behavior in 2010. Arnold won re-election in 2012 and received funds from the Democratic Party in Kentucky.  It was not until August of last year, after Kentucky radio station WFPL reported that  the alleged victims filed their report with the Ethics Commission, that House Speaker Greg Stumbo called on the House to discipline Arnold. Arnold would resign a month later, citing “poor health.”

Whatever the reasons for the delays in punitive measures, both sides of the Kentucky House should support the investigative and disciplinary process of the state government. The aim for all policy makers should be the truth rather than maintaining political power.