Lawmakers speak out after Rep. Campbell’s resignation
Rep. Justin Jones says Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton is part of the “coverup.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - As the legislative session wrapped up for the day, former Rep. Scotty Campbell’s desk inside of the House chambers was empty Thursday evening.
“We received Representative Campbell’s letter of resignation today around 2 o’clock and we accepted that resignation as far as the details with that I along with the other members of the body became aware of when the public became aware,” House Assistant Majority Leader Rep. Mark Cochran, R-Englewood, said.
At the end of March, the House Workplace Discrimination & Harassment Subcommittee launched an ethics investigation after the subcommittee received a complaint regarding Campbell, R-Mountain City. Lawmakers told WSMV4 he was allegedly sexually harassing capitol interns.
“The Speaker of the House is a part of this coverup,” Rep. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, alleges.
Jones, who has been at the forefront of passing common sense gun laws and was recently reinstated to the House after he and Rep. Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis, were expelled, believes Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, knew about these allegations.
“Again, he put protecting this lawmaker over the well-being of these interns who should be protected, who are courageous to come forward, but it’s very unfortunate that it took to this point, the second to last day of session, for them to finally do something but only because it was brought up in the news today,” Jones said.
Sexton, when asked by WSMV4 after Thursday’s session, denied he knew about the allegations against Campbell even though the subcommittee, which is bipartisan, sent him the letter on March 29. He explained how the process that was implemented by the General Assembly in 2016 works.
“They have to determine first if they think it’s a violation and if they do, they can talk to witnesses, talk to members, they can talk to the victim, they can do the investigation and then they can decide what corrective action should be taken,” Sexton said.
“At that point, the Speaker does not know any of the details before or after other than that a complaint has been filed and that a member is involved because that’s where it would go if it was a member.”
The memorandum was addressed to Sexton, but it doesn’t give any details on the complaint, but the subcommittee did agree Campbell did violate the policy.
“This should concern all Tennesseans regardless of Republican, Democrats or independent,” Jones said. “We want our interns to feel safe. We want our children to feel safe. That’s why we’re talking about common sense gun laws, but again, they put power over all else.”
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