ethic

Womick’s latest complaints against Harwell scrapped

House Ethics Committee Chairman Steve McDaniel has rejected the latest two complaints filed against House Speaker Beth Harwell by Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, reports The Tennessean.

In a letter to Womick, McDaniel, who also serves as deputy House speaker, said one complaint repeats charges already dismissed and the other wasn’t properly signs.

The complaint scuttled as repetitious involved allegations that Harwell violated House rules and the state constitution during the investigation of former Rep. Jeremey Durham, R-Franklin, and his subsequent ouster last month from his House seat. The other, said to be unsigned, involved reports that House Clerk Joe McCord used abusive language to a legislative staffer and made an obscene gesture two her 2-year-old granddaughter.

McDaniel, R-Parkers Crossroads acted on the advice of Doug Himes, an attorney who is co-director of the legislature’s Office of Legal Services, according to The Tennessean. And Womick is not happy.

“It’s all a cover up,” Womick said Thursday.

Womick took issue with Himes’ assessment of his first complaint, saying it did not reiterate what had been included in the previously dismissed complaint. In terms of the second complaint, Womick said he turned in a signed copy.

“I’ve got in my possession the original signed letter by me and Rep. Mike Stewart,” he said.

Womick said the claim that he didn’t sign the complaint was a “bold face lie” and an effort to “cover up” wrongdoing by Harwell.

“The speaker has given orders to (Doug) Himes and (Steve) McDaniel to not meet until after the election,” Womick said.

… Copies of the complaints held by Rep. Mike Stewart, D-Nashville, show only one of the two complaints was signed.

On the outing of John and Jane Does in the legislature

The Nashville Scene, which has identified state Rep. Mary Littleton as the person identified only as “Rep. Jane Doe 33” in a report by Attorney General Herbert Slatery on the alleged sexual harassment activities of former Rep. Jeremy Durham, has since published the names of 10 other state representatives given only an anonymous “Doe” designation in the official report.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Mike Stewart, Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini and others in the party promptly and publicly joined in naming Littleton – citing the Scene, though often simply deeming it a “media source” — and calling for an investigation into the report’s arguable implication that Rep. Jane Doe 33 caused a legislative staffer to lose her job because of dealings with Durham that Rep. Doe 33 disliked; Stewart called it “punishing the victim.”

In media circles, WTVF-TV used Littleton’s name; another Nashville TV station reporting on the Democrats’ news conference, WSMV, did not. The Tennessean, which has spearheaded reporting on Durham’s deeds, rejected identification, contending that use of Rep. Jane Doe 33’s real name could logically lead to identifying the former staffer – “Jane Doe 24” – who is a victim of sexual harassment.

The newspaper, along with most other media outlets, traditionally do not identify victims or sexual abuse or harassment without their consent. The AG report says Jane Doe 24 worked for Rep. Jane Doe 33 and a search of public records – or basic knowledge within legislative circles – could indeed identify Jane Doe 24.

The Scene’s listing of the other 10 John and Jane Doe legislators seems to have been widely ignored by other media outlets, but for the record, it’s HERE – the list follows a narrative on reasons for reporting it. At least one Democrat opposing a named Republican legislator — Becky Goff, who is running against Rep. Dawn White, R-Murfreesboro – did a Facebook post link to the Scene’s story, noting that her opponent was included, though giving no negative commentary. Continue reading