The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

State News

April 23, 2014

Turner denies wrongdoing in ethics investigation

INDIANAPOLIS — State Rep. Eric Turner, through written responses, denied breaking any House rules in regard to an Ethics Committee investigation. The investigation was to determine whether Turner lobbied against a bill to protect his family’s economic interests.

The House Ethics Committee met in the Statehouse on Wednesday to discuss the allegations and hear what Turner’s answers were to several in-depth interrogatories.

Turner did not show up to the meeting.

Turner, who represents the northern part of Madison County, was accused by the Indiana Democratic Party of lobbying for the death of a bill that would have hurt his son Zeke Turner’s business. The bill would have extended a moratorium on building nursing homes. Turner’s business is scheduled to build several new homes over the next few years.

The Democratic Party Chair John Zody sent House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, a letter asking for an investigation. This came after a story from The Associated Press said Turner spoke out against the bill in private caucus meetings that led to the bill dying.

Ethics Committee Chair Greg Steuerwald, a Republican, said the meeting Wednesday was to present the facts he and Rep. Clyde Kersey, a Democrat, had obtained through questioning Turner. A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, April 30, for a final committee report that will be given to Bosma.

Turner said he did “offer his expertise” on the bill during a caucus meeting but fully disclosed his and his family’s ties to the nursing home business before doing so. Turner also recused himself from a vote on the bill during both a committee vote and the full House vote.

Because he didn’t sponsor or vote on the bill, Turner claimed he didn’t violate any House rules.

Steuerwald said all representatives are required to fill out a form before the session begins for issues like this one. He and Kersey reviewed Turner’s form and found his son’s business was listed.

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