Bosma himself questions impartiality of future investigation into his conduct
INDIANAPOLIS – The pressure is mounting for Indiana Republicans to address a simmering ethics question that, if mishandled, will further erode Hoosiers’ confidence that the rules actually apply to powerful politicians. It’s been three weeks since a member of the General Assembly formally requested an Ethics Committee investigation into the conduct of Speaker Brian Bosma. Since then, the woman at the center of the story has also requested an ethics ruling and a campaign finance complaint has been lodged against Bosma with the Indiana Election Division. Meanwhile, the Speaker pulled powerful political levers behind the scenes to squelch closer scrutiny of his conduct.
“House Speaker Brian Bosma pushed behind the scenes for members of an ethics panel to resolve before Election Day allegations that he intimidated a former Statehouse intern who says she had a sexual encounter with him in the early 1990s.
“In a previously undisclosed Oct. 23 letter, Bosma urged the six members of the House Ethics Committee to immediately review allegations that he spent campaign funds to dig up unflattering information about former intern Kandy Green.”
Bosma himself openly questioned how the chamber will impartially investigate the man who appoints members to the committee set to examine ethics complaints against him.
“Bosma’s letter goes on to say that waiting until after the election, when a new ethics committee is normally selected by the speaker and the minority leader, would no doubt lead to allegations that he is handpicking the new members “with an eye toward the pending complaint.”
“This could lead to an appearance of impropriety to the members of the House and the public,” Bosma says. “It would be in our institution’s best interest to avoid such an appearance.”
“Finally,” he argues, “if this matter is not resolved expeditiously, a cloud will hang over this institution and over me personally” as lawmakers create the state’s first-ever sexual harassment policy for legislators.”
Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody agreed with the Speaker’s assessment and believed Statehouse Republicans were circling the wagons to protect a powerful political ally.
“Speaker Bosma is right, this whole process appears designed to protect politicians at all costs,” said Zody. “Statehouse Republicans are holding a hand they can’t possibly win. Ignore the requests for an Ethics Committee ruling and send the signal that the rules don’t apply to powerful politicians. Hold a hearing and not a single person, not even the Speaker, believes it’s an impartial investigation. After nearly a decade in complete control, this is what cronyism and a culture of corruption looks like. It’s past time to clean up the Statehouse.”