It was always hard to figure just what the Republican leadership in the House expected from the up to $50,000 they agreed to pay a law firm to investigate a sexual harassment settlement between some of their members and a former staffer.
Like the settlement, so much about the majority’s hiring of the Louisville law firm was secret: How the firm was chosen, just exactly what it was supposed to do, and how, without subpoena power, it was supposed to do it, much less within 10 days, the time allotted for a preliminary report.
So, it’s not too surprising that Republican leadership — after wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars — have decided to hand the investigation over to the Legislative Ethics Commission, as they should have from the beginning. This is the public’s business and it should be investigated by the public entity — bipartisan and armed with subpoena power — that exists to, well, monitor the ethics of the legislature.
And, here’s what the committee needs to sort out: How much was the settlement paid by the four Republican legislators and where did the money come from?
All four — House Speaker Jeff Hoover, Jamestown; Jim DeCesare, Bowling Green; Brian Linder, Oakland; and Michael Meredith, Edmonson County — still hold seats in the House and so will vote on laws that affect us all.
The public deserves to know whether, as has been alleged, the money came from campaign donors or others with an interest in legislation, or if the politicians dug into their own pockets to pay.