Politics & Government

Amid turmoil in Frankfort, Republican Party calls special meeting about Jeff Hoover

State Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, looks on during the General Assembly in the State Capitol in Frankfort on Thursday.
State Rep. Jeff Hoover, R-Jamestown, looks on during the General Assembly in the State Capitol in Frankfort on Thursday.

The Kentucky Republican Party has called a special meeting of its executive committee to discuss the status of House Speaker Jeff Hoover.

On Friday, RPK chairman Mac Brown announced that the committee will hold a special meeting Saturday, Jan. 13, to discuss “the party’s position on the current standing of the Kentucky Speaker of the House,” according to an email obtained by the Herald-Leader.

“Over the past few weeks, many members of the committee have contacted us looking for help to sort out the known facts from rumors and to understand where we are now and the process moving forward in the legislature,” said Tres Watson, RPK’s communications director. “We decided it would be better to call a meeting than attempt to do it in an email or on a call so we could answer questions that may arise.”

Watson said there is currently no vote planned to determine the committee’s stance on whether Hoover should remain as Speaker, or in the House.

At the party’s last meeting in early December, Gov. Matt Bevin asked the party to call for the resignation of four GOP lawmakers who secretly settled a sexual harassment complaint, according to The Associated Press. Bevin’s amendment was voted down 48-38, a decision he harshly criticized.

“It was not a proud day for the Republican Party. It speaks to the fact that we’ve got real problems, including at the highest levels,” Bevin said at the time. “There were plenty who actually believed even Republicans should not be allowed to sexually harass people, but there are many who think that’s OK as long as you are a Republican. That’s a problem.”

At the time of that vote, Hoover had pledged to resign from his role as Speaker of the House. Hoover backed off his pledge on the opening day of the legislative session this week, “empowering” Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne to perform the role of Speaker.

The day after, eight GOP members filed a formal disciplinary charge against Hoover, resulting in the creation of a special investigative committee.

Hoover did not respond to a request for comment.

State Rep. Jerry Miller, a Louisville Republican who is chairing a special House panel to consider possible expulsion of House Speaker Jeff Hoover, offered recommendations Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, to panel members at their first meeting.

Daniel Desrochers: 502-875-3793, @drdesrochers, @BGPolitics