Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman is defending himself against charges related to a House ethics investigation.
While the committee looking into the matter doesn’t comment publicly about what it’s investigating, Hopkinsville Republican Ed Whitfield addressed the issue on a teleconference with reporters Monday.
Whitfield said the complaint alleges that his wife - a lobbyist for the U.S. Humane Society Legislative Fund - improperly lobbied him on behalf of legislation he is sponsoring related to show horses. Whitfield’s bill aims to end a practice known as “soring" where chains and pads are used to conceal irritants that result in horses achieving a high-stepping gait desired in some competitions.
Whitfield denied allegations that he only became interested in the issue after his wife began working with the Humane Society in 2011.
“I first started writing letters about the soring issue with Tennessee Walking Horses back in 2004," Whitfield said. "And I wrote a letter in 2010 before she was ever involved.”
Whitfield says the ethics complaint was brought by individuals in the performance horse industry who defend the practice of soring.
During his teleconference, the Hopkinsville Congressman also denied allegations in a recent report that he has maintained an improper business relationship with a nationally known lobbyist. Whitfield said he’ll release documents related to the property purchase if he’s asked by House ethics investigators.