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Republican who led inquiry of Dean Plocher may be subject of new ethics complaint

State Rep. Hannah Kelly, R-Mountain View, speaks throughout House debate in early March (Tim Bommel/Missouri House Communications).

Days after ending an investigation into Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher, the Republican who led that inquiry has recused herself from the committee because it prepares to debate a new complaint. 

According to a letter to legislative employees from House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Henderson, a member of Plocher’s management workforce, state Rep. Hannah Kelly requested she be briefly faraway from the ethics committee because it seems right into a new complaint filed Wednesday. 

Although the complaint itself, in addition to who filed it, are confidential below House guidelines, Kelly’s choice to step away from the committee is a sign she may be the subject. 

Kelly declined remark Thursday morning. 

Plocher additionally seems to have recused himself, leaving Henderson to nominate state Rep. Rick Francis of Perryville because the committee’s new chair. The committee will maintain a listening to concerning the new complaint Monday night.  

Plocher declared victory this week after the ethics committee voted to finish its months-long investigation in his alleged misconduct with out recommending any punishment. 

Yet regardless of avoiding a proper reprimand, Plocher nonetheless faces questions surrounding accusations that he deliberately delayed and obstructed the investigation — together with by intimidating potential witnesses. 

To bolster the allegations, Kelly launched an e-mail she acquired in early March from the director of administration for the Missouri House detailing habits by the speaker’s workplace over a number of months that was allegedly designed to intimidate nonpartisan legislative staff. 

“In my over 21 years of state government service, I have never witnessed or even been involved in such a hostile work environment that is so horrible that I am living in fear every day of losing my job,” the March 5 e-mail acknowledged. 

An lawyer employed by the ethics committee to gather proof within the Plocher investigation wrote to the committee that she had by no means encountered extra unwilling witnesses “in any investigation in my career. 

“The level of fear expressed by a number of the potential witnesses,” the lawyer wrote, “is a daunting factor in completing this investigation.”

And on three events in March and April, Plocher refused to log off on subpoena requests by the committee.

Plocher has vehemently denied any wrongdoing — together with that he obstructed the investigation. 

He famous that the committee admitted it couldn’t discover any proof of wrongdoing in any of the litany of costs towards him — his unsuccessful push for the House to signal an $800,000 contract with a private software company exterior the traditional bidding course of; alleged threats of retaliation towards nonpartisan legislative employees who raised crimson flags about that contract; purported firing a possible whistleblower; and years of false expense reports for travel already paid for by his marketing campaign.

“I’m thankful that my family will no longer have to endure the hardships caused by these false allegations and this investigation,” Plocher mentioned, later including: “I adamantly deny that I obstructed anything.” 

State Rep. Brian Seitz, a Branson Republican, mentioned all the ordeal was “much ado about nothing.” 

“What was once a committee hearing became an inquisition,” he mentioned. “It went from an inquisition to a witch hunt.”

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, a Springfield Democrat operating for governor, mentioned she was most troubled by the allegations of employees intimidation, most notably the letter from the House director of administration, calling the scenario “deeply concerning.” 

Though she mentioned she’d heard rumblings about employees mistreatment over the previous few months, it was all second or third hand. 

“It’s one thing to hear rumors,” Quade mentioned. “It’s another to see an itemized list from a respected, longtime nonpartisan staff member.” 

The allegations are severe sufficient to warrant motion, Quade mentioned. But with solely two weeks left earlier than adjournment and an extended checklist of unfinished legislative enterprise, she admits it’s unlikely something occurs this yr. It will in the end be as much as the following management workforce that takes over in January when Plocher’s time in workplace is over.  

“The nonpartisan staff are the skeleton of democracy. I mean, it sounds cheesy to say that, but it is true,” Quade mentioned. “These people are all underpaid and overworked, and the leadership in the building need to recognize all that these folks give to our state as public servants.”

The put up Republican who led inquiry of Dean Plocher may be subject of new ethics complaint appeared first on Missouri Independent.

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