Greater transparency and accountability are needed at the Statehouse

May 7, 2014 Gail Riecken

For immediate release:
May 7, 2014


INDIANAPOLIS – The past couple of weeks have been an interesting time. As a member of the Indiana House Ethics Committee, I played a role in an investigation of the conduct of State Rep. Eric Turner from Cicero during the final weeks of the 2014 legislative session.

The basics are these. Unnamed House Republicans claimed Rep. Turner went too far in advocating against passage of legislation that would have placed a moratorium on new nursing home construction in Indiana. He made these statements during closed door meetings conducted by House Republicans that are called caucuses.

These complaints became known after the legislation was defeated. They led to several stories that appeared in the media, and a request from the House speaker that the Ethics Committee look into possible violations of our code of conduct.

As you now know, we found no violations of the Code of Ethics. [If you would like to read the committee’s decision, it can be found here.] It will be left to the House speaker to decide if there need to be any additional investigations of Rep. Turner.

It is important to note that committee members—led by Republican Chairman Greg Steuerwald from Danville and ranking Democrat Clyde Kersey from Terre Haute—did agree that there was a need to look at both the House Code of Ethics and our state laws covering disclosure of financial interests by lawmakers. Some of these provisions have not been updated in a good number of years and they deserve to be examined again.

If I am to be a part of those discussions in the months to come, my priority will be to do what I can to promote more transparency and accountability in our codes of conduct.