House Ethics Panel Meets On Turner Issue
April 23, 2014 — Indiana Public Broadcasting — Republican Representative Eric Turner says he disclosed to fellow Republicans in private caucus meetings all ties to the nursing home industry and followed House rules. As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, Turner submitted sworn written testimony to the House Ethics Committee that met on Wednesday:
Turner wasn’t present at the Ethics Committee hearing, convened to investigate allegations that he improperly lobbied against a nursing home construction moratorium when he and his son both have ties to the nursing home industry. He instead responded to written questions prepared by committee leadership. Turner’s attorney Toby McClamroch says the Cicero lawmaker’s answers were clear…and the evidence bears out that he didn’t violate any rules:
“Before he made his comments in caucus, he preceded those comments by advising the caucus of his interest in the nursing homes and advising them that his son’s involved in the business and that he had ownership interest, so he was very careful in the way he addressed the caucus.”
House rules bar lawmakers from sponsoring or voting on bills with which they have a conflict of interest…but they do allow legislators to provide expertise. The Ethics Committee’s ranking Democrat Clyde Kersey says he’s satisfied with the answers provided by Turner:
“There’s a lot of things we don’t know anything about, of course – what went on in caucus stays in caucus. As far as everything else, he followed the rules.”
The Ethics Committee will meet next week to make final determinations about Turner’s actions and make recommendations to the House Speaker.