Hoover admits violation of ethics statute

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ)- Former house speaker Jeff Hoover has agreed to a plea deal in connection to an ethics complaint about sexual harassment.

Rep. Hoover broke down during his statement to the ethics commission, admitting he violated the state’s ethics statute when he signed a confidential agreement with a staffer he had sent inappropriate text messages to.

“I made a mistake and I said from day one that I made a mistake,” said Rep. Hoover, R-Jamestown.

While holding back tears Rep. Hoover apologized to the legislative ethics commission for behavior he says was against the ethics standard.

“The text message bantering that I engaged with a staffer was inappropriate. I acknowledged that again here today, I acknowledge that technically that would violate the ethics statute,” said Rep. Hoover.

This all started last fall when it was discovered hoover had signed a secret agreement with a staffer who claimed Hoover had sent her sexually suggestive text messages.

Soon after a fellow legislator filed an ethics complaint against Hoover which on Tuesday was settled with a plea deal that required Hoover to admit his wrongdoing, be subject to public reprimand and pay a $1,000 fine.

“The alleged victim was agreeable to it and she appeared by as you saw her attorney and said she was agreeable and it seems to me that the punishment fit the crime,” said Anthony Wilhoit, chairman of the Legislative Ethics Commission.

A punishment hoover himself says he accepts and looks to move past.

“This is a resolution that puts it all behind us and we all can move forward now with the things we need to do,” said Rep. Hoover.

Lawyers for the state say the official order signed by the commission will be filed in the next week.

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