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Government & Politics

Congressman Whitfield Calls House Ethics Allegations "Absurd"

Ed Whitfield at the Fancy Farm Picnic, 2010.

Kentucky’s 1st District Congressman Ed Whitfield says his opposition to inflicting pain on show horses has made him the target of a congressional ethics investigation.

An investigative subcommittee is charged with determining whether the Hopkinsville Republican used his office to benefit himself or his wife, Connie Harriman-Whitfield, who is a senior policy advisor for the Humane Society Legislative Fund.  

“The allegation is that I would not have sponsored the legislation except that my wife was interested because of the Human Society, which is absurd," said Whitfield. "I sponsored the legislation because I’ve been involved in the issue many years. They filed the ethics complaint because they wanted to stop the legislation. And they were successful.”

Whitfield sponsored a bill, now-stalled, that would require inspections to prevent the soring of horses, the practice of inflicting pain to the animal’s feet to produce an exaggerated walk.  He says a former congressional staffer turned lobbyist is using his legislative know-how to stop a bill to require stronger enforcement against the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses.

“The lobbyist for “sorers” in Tennessee and in Kentucky, who used to be a staffer for Hal Rogers, the chairman of the appropriations committee, convinced them to file an ethics complaint against me," said Whitfield. "The people that filed the ethics complaint have 57 violations of the Horse Protection Act.”

Whitfield says he wants his record for supporting animal welfare to speak for itself and that he would be “shocked” if a violation was found.