Watchdog group files ethics complaint over Seitz probe

June 22, 2018
FILE – In this March 2, 2011, file photo, Ohio state Sen. Bill Seitz discusses a bill about collective bargaining rights for public employees, during a floor debate in Columbus, Ohio. A law firm where Seitz worked for 36 years, retained by the state attorney general's office to independently investigate a complaint by a female House employee, concluded in April 2018 that the Republican lawmaker from Cincinnati had not violated the House's anti-harassment policy in remarks at an off-site party the employee claimed "glorified a sexual harasser and minimized his victim and all victims of sexual harassment." (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A pro-sustainability watchdog group has filed an ethics grievance over a probe that cleared a powerful Ohio legislator after a sexual harassment complaint.

Scott Peterson, executive director of Checks and Balances Project, says the law firm Taft Stettinius & Hollister retained by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office as special counsel had an ethical conflict in the case of Republican state Rep. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati. Taft is Seitz’s former law firm.

Checks and Balances opposes Seitz’s position against Ohio’s clean energy standards.

The Ohio Supreme Court’s office of disciplinary counsel will review the grievance to see if there is enough evidence to file a formal complaint.

A message seeking comment was left Friday for a Taft partner.

Seitz has said the sexual harassment complaint was “utterly meritless.”

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