House Speaker Ethics Complaint

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NOTE: The Indiana Code chapter on Legislative Ethics can be found at http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/code/title2/ar2.1/ch3.html.

NOTE: The Rules of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Sixteenth General Assembly of Indiana can be found at http://www.in.gov/legislative/session/houserules.pdf.

 

April 20, 2009

Mr. Clyde Kersey
Indiana House Ethics Committee Chair
Statehouse Office 336/21

Mr. Earl Harris
Indiana House Ethics Committee Vice Chair
Statehouse Office 3A-1

Mr. Russ Stilwell
Indiana House Ethics Committee Member
Statehouse Office 3A-4

Mr. Tim Brown
Indiana House Ethics Committee Ranking Minority Member
Statehouse Office 336/33

Mr. Dave Frizzell
Indiana House Ethics Committee Member
Statehouse Office 4-5

Mr. Rich McClain
Indiana House Ethics Committee Member
Statehouse Office 4A-7

RE: B. Patrick Bauer Ethics Complaint

Dear Mr. Kersey, Mr. Harris, Mr. Stilwell, Mr. Brown, Mr. Frizzell, and Mr. McClain:

I have hand-delivered this Ethics Complaint to all of you members of the House Statutory Committee on Ethics, or to your Statehouse offices, on Monday, April 20, 2009. This Ethics Complaint is presented in accordance with Indiana Code 2-2.1-3 by an Indiana citizen and registered voter.

B. Patrick Bauer did not faithfully and impartially discharge his duties as Speaker of the House on April 14, 2009, as required by the oath he took in accordance with Rule 18 of the House of Representatives of the One Hundred Sixteenth General Assembly of Indiana. The pertinent facts are summarized next.

  1. Representative Bill Davis was recognized by Speaker Bauer to speak on a motion during the April 14, 2009, meeting of the House of Representatives.
  2. Before taking his position at the lectern to speak, Representative Davis presented Speaker Bauer with a written copy of his motion prepared in accordance with House Rule 8 to suspend House Rule 85 and call Senate Joint Resolution 1 back to the House from the Ways and Means Committee.
  3. Before Representative Davis could begin speaking on his motion, Speaker Bauer ruled the motion out of order.
  4. Speaker Bauer then recognized House Republican Leader Brian C. Bosma to speak on a point of personal privilege regarding Representative Davisí motion.
  5. Representative Scott Pelath then made a motion to adjourn.
  6. Speaker Bauer immediately gaveled the House meeting adjourned without a proper vote to do so.
  7. No House Journal entry was made of Representative Davisí motion.
  8. House Rule 8 clearly states that a motion to suspend is in order at any time and has precedence over all other business (which necessarily includes a motion to adjourn).

Speaker Bauer failed to faithfully and impartially discharge his duties when he ruled Representative Davisí motion to be out of order. Furthermore, Speaker Bauer acted unethically when he gave precedence to a motion to adjourn before the motion to suspend could be acted upon. Finally, Speaker Bauer should be held responsible for the failure of Representative Davisí motion to be included in the House Journal.

It is requested that the House Statutory Committee on Ethics act promptly on this Ethics Complaint before the April 29, 2009, last day of adjournment for this General Assembly session.

An appropriate sanction would be to direct Speaker Bauer to recognize Representative Davis to speak on his motion to suspend at the next available House meeting prior to the adjournment of the 2009 General Assembly session. Speaker Bauer must recognize that Representative Davisí motion is in order and has precedence over all other business. Also, Representative Davisí motion should be included in the April 14, 2009 House Journal.

Best regards,

Aaron J. Smith

2625 Countryside Drive
Lebanon, IN 46052

taxless3@comcast.net

 

May 7, 2009

Aaron Smith
2625 Countryside Drive
Lebanon, IN 46052

Dear Mr. Smith:

I have received your communication. You should be commended for your interest in state government. House ethics rules are not designed to further or hinder public policy issues. Your communication concerns a public policy issue and, therefore, fails to state a cognizable ethics claim.

Sincerely,

Clyde Kersey
State Representative
Chair of Statutory Committee on Ethics

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