Six Kansas lawmakers were named Monday to a panel to review an ethics complaint against House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson.
The complaint was filed Friday by House Democratic leaders who accuse O'Neal of having a conflict of interest by representing a coalition of business groups in a lawsuit against the state. O'Neal contends that he did nothing wrong and that no ethical rule bars lawmakers who are attorneys from taking cases against the state.
House rules left it to the speaker pro tem, Rep. Arlen Siegfreid, R-Olathe, to appoint three Democrats and three Republicans to the committee charged with investigating the complaint. The committee will review the complaint and recommend any possible punishment to the full House for a vote.
The lawmakers are Rep. Clark Shultz, R-Lindsborg (chairman); Rep. Carl Holmes, R-Liberal; Rep. Jeff King, R-Independence; Rep. Nile Dillmore, D-Wichita; Rep. Bob Grant, D-Cherokee; and Rep. Jerry Henry, D-Cummings.
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The lawsuit challenges a 2009 legislative decision, which O'Neal opposed, to use money from professional regulatory funds to help balance the budget. O'Neal's clients, including the Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Association of Realtors, represent professionals who pay dues to support the funds.