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Archive for Tuesday, March 23, 2010

House Speaker seeks dismissal of misconduct complaint filed against him

March 23, 2010, 8:32 a.m. Updated March 23, 2010, 4:56 p.m.

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— House Speaker Mike O’Neal, R-Hutchinson, on Tuesday urged an investigative committee to dismiss a misconduct complaint filed against him.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, speaks Tuesday to the House Select Investigative Committee, about a misconduct complaint filed against him by House Democrats. O'Neal has denied any wrongdoing and urged the committee to dismiss the complaint.

House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, speaks Tuesday to the House Select Investigative Committee, about a misconduct complaint filed against him by House Democrats. O'Neal has denied any wrongdoing and urged the committee to dismiss the complaint.

O’Neal, speaking for more than two hours to the bi-partisan committee, said the charge against him was baseless and accused Democratic leaders who brought the complaint of misconduct.

“I have been defamed,” O’Neal said. “I have done nothing wrong. It is a disservice ... to proceed any further.”

The committee took no action. It scheduled a meeting for Monday.

The dispute is over O’Neal, who is an attorney, representing trade groups and associations that are suing the state over an action taken by the Legislature last year to sweep fee funds from regulatory bodies to help balance the state budget.

O’Neal’s lawsuit seeks a court ruling to declare the $5 million in fee sweeps unconstitutional.

Democratic leaders filed a complaint saying O’Neal has created a conflict of interest by representing powerful interests who have business before the Legislature.

O’Neal says he has complied with all laws that allow legislator-attorneys to represent clients in actions against the state.

Comments

Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago

Dude! On one hand you're suing the State. On the other hand you're an elected official for the State. Do we need one of those TV ads about bank policies with a voice-over "Even small children can see the built in conflict of interest"??

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Jimo 4 years, 7 months ago

btw - Where's the Tea Party people? You remember them - fighting against government arrogance and corruption?

Crickets.

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Flap Doodle 4 years, 7 months ago

O'Neal shares the collective guilt of the White devils.

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jfcm77 4 years, 7 months ago

This never would have happened if McCain had won.

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Sean Livingstone 4 years, 7 months ago

"jfcm77 (anonymous) says… This never would have happened if McCain had won."

In a good or bad sense? You mean Mccain can help cover up the flaws of many Republicans? Like they did during the Bush years? Well, Obama got elected, and people can continue to open up the flaws of many Democrats. That will never happen to a Republican administration, period. Just like Donny's failure to capture OBL only surfaced after Bush went away.

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yankeevet 4 years, 7 months ago

Just a money hungry worthless lawyer..................

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pace 4 years, 7 months ago

Oh, he wants to dismiss the charge. Not to recuse himself, ain't he precious. He doesn't have to take the money, He has a choice, if he wanted it to go away, maybe he should empty his pockets.

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EyeonKansas 4 years, 7 months ago

Looks like a duck, walks like a duck, sounds like a duck... but O'Neal would argue it's a cow. He'll probably massage his version the way most attorney's do. It's not like the Ethics Committee actually punishes anyone for their unethical behavior. Isn't something like on average you have to pay $1 for your unethical behavior (I'm not sure it's completely open domain but every media posting I've found of it they usually charge a $1). The Ethics Committee is a joke. I think O'Neal is wrong but if the Ethics Committee won't grow some balls and hurt him financially he and others will continue this behavior.

Next week he'll probably sue over a bill he proposed.

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kansasredlegs 4 years, 7 months ago

The problem is of perception. There are no ethics violations. If Mr. O'Neal had violated any codified ethics rules, the opponents would have stated so louder and clearer that they did.

However, this does not save the day for Mr. O'Neal. Mr. O'Neal should have been political astute enough to know that this would be cannon fodder for his opponents because, for ordinary citizens, on it's face, it does seem to smack of a conflict of interest. When that happens, an astute politician will leave it alone. Mr. O'Neal decided not to that and that may be his political undoing.

However, when one reviews the statutes and code of ethics for legislators, there is no violation. This is just politics as usual and political grandstanding to get on TV and name in the paper (internet) before the next election.

One question which may be comparable to this situation would be to ask Rep. Davis (attorney), if Rep. Davis practices in the area of workers' compensation or employment law (wrongfully terminated State employee), would this preclude Mr. Davis from accepting clients who intend to sue the State and/or one of its agencies for a remedy?

The answer is no. Thus, Mr. O'Neal has made a political blunder, not an ethics violation. If the Legislature does not want one of its own (lawyer) to represent clients who sue the State, then it should pass a clearly worded statute or code of ethics prohibiting the behavior.

Politics at its best or worst, depending on which side of the aisle you sit on this particular issue I suppose.

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