The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

State News

March 20, 2014

Bosma asks Indiana House Ethics Committee to review Turner

INDIANAPOLIS — Speaker Brian Bosma asked members of the House Ethics Committee Thursday to determine whether a lawmaker did anything wrong by privately lobbying for his family's nursing home business.

Bosma, R-Indianapolis, wrote a letter to House Ethics Chairman Greg Steuerwald, R-Avon, requesting an investigation into whether Republican Rep. Eric Turner violated any ethics rules.

The Associated Press reported Monday that Turner, R-Cicero, had lobbied other members of the Republican caucus in private last week to block a nursing home ban that would have harmed his son's business. Democratic Party Chairman John Zody asked for an ethics investigation in a letter to Bosma Tuesday that cited the AP report.

"I am forwarding this inquiry to your attention to determine whether the Rules of the Indiana House of Representatives, or other applicable authorities, have been violated," Bosma wrote. "If you find a violation, please recommend any actions you feel should be taken."

Even with Bosma's request, it's unclear whether there would be an investigation.

Steuerwald said he would have to talk with other members of the committee before deciding whether to hold a hearing. And if the members do agree to a meeting, he questioned whether anyone would testify because caucus discussions are considered private.

"I don't think we have any means to compel people to comment," Steuerwald said. "This is from a discussion in a private caucus — I mean, geez. As you know Democrats and Republicans have those private caucus meetings every day and getting involved in the discussions that happen in caucus would be. Wow. Those are private and confidential by design."

Emails to Turner and his spokesman were not immediately returned Thursday afternoon. Turner has not commented about his involvement in the nursing home fight since the first reports came out at the start of the week.

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