Member of ethics panel resigns due to Arnold case

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A member of the legislative ethics commission says he is stepping down from his position due to the panel’s handling of a case involving former state Rep. John Arnold.

Vernie McGaha told The Courier-Journal (http://cjky.it/1iYtWCv) that he sent his resignation letter, effective immediately, but Senate President Robert Stivers persuaded him to at least see the case through to the end.

“… President Stivers asked me to hold it until this case is resolved … and I agreed to do that,” McGaha said. “It was a reasonable request.”

Three women testified during a hearing last month before the panel that Arnold sexually harassed them.

The commission voted 4-1 to find Arnold guilty. But state law requires at least five “yes” votes from the nine member commission to convict. Three commissioners did not attend the hearing and one seat is vacant.

“I was disappointed, embarrassed at the last meeting we had. … I’ve got other things to do,” McGaha told the newspaper in a telephone interview.

“We’ve had trouble getting a bare quorum at our meetings, which means there’s not room for a dissenting vote,” McGaha said. “If we can’t do better than that on a case this large, well, I don’t know if I were someone filing a complaint whether I’d file one or not.”

The commission is expected to take up the case again at its next meeting on Wednesday.

Arnold’s attorney has said the former lawmaker is suffering from health problems including dementia.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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