Kentucky's Republican House speaker resigns leadership post

Kentucky's Republican House speaker resigns leadership post
Posted at 4:51 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 17:16:05-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The Republican speaker of Kentucky’s House of Representatives resigned from his leadership position Monday, more than two months after acknowledging he secretly settled a sexual harassment claim and paid to keep it quiet.

Jeff Hoover offered Monday to resign, but only if the House would accept. Moments later Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne ruled his resignation had been accepted.

MORE: Kentucky House speaker who resigned over harassment claim reconsiders

In a blistering speech on the House floor, before stepping down, Hoover denounced his critics — including Republican Gov. Matt Bevin — for telling what he called lies from the “deepest pit of Hell.”

But Hoover said he didn’t want to be a distraction for the House.

While he will no longer lead the House, Hoover will remain one of its members.

Hoover denied sexual harassment, but said he sent inappropriate but consensual text messages to a woman who once worked for the House Republican Caucus.

The settlement signed by Hoover and three other Republican lawmakers was handled outside of court and paid for with private money to avoid publicity. But the Courier Journal exposed it, creating an uproar in a state that was transitioning to Republican rule after decades of dominance by Democrats.

In November, after the settlement came to light, Hoover announced he would resign as speaker but keep his seat in the legislature. But when the Legislature convened this month, Hoover said he was only temporarily stepping aside as speaker “until further notice.”

Eight Republican lawmakers then filed formal disciplinary charges against Hoover, alleging he sexually harassed a woman in his office and then used taxpayer resources to cover it up. They asked a special committee to recommend expelling Hoover from the House.

Hoover told The Associated Press last week that he believed the complaint was motivated by politics.