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Furthermore …

Ethics probe undercut before starting

It’s curious that House Speaker Brian Bosma didn’t recognize it when it was happening, but his call for a review of Rep. P. Eric Turner’s role in killing a moratorium on Indiana nursing home expansion is welcome. And how convenient that an exemption in the state’s open meetings law is likely to keep Hoosiers from learning why House Republicans suddenly opposed a provision they earlier supported.

The speaker called for the House Ethics Committee to investigate after questions about Turner’s efforts to kill the moratorium, which his son had testified against before the House Ways and Means Committee. Zeke Turner is chairman and CEO of Mainstreet Property Group, a Carmel-based developer of high-end nursing homes.

Rep. Turner’s ties to the business – he is a co-founder and investor – appeared to be widely known by lawmakers. He did not vote on the bill before the committee or in the full House but argued passionately against in a GOP caucus, according to the Associated Press.

Discussions in a caucus are exempt from the open meetings law. Rep. Greg Steuerwald, chairman of the ethics committee, pointed that out in noting that a bipartisan panel was being asked to probe a Republican session.

“This is from a discussion in a private caucus,” he told the Associated Press. “I mean, geez. As you know, Democrats and Republicans have those private caucus meetings every day, and getting involved in the discussions that happen in caucus would be – wow. Those are private and confidential by design.”

Looks like voters will have to surmise what prompted the lawmakers to reject a sound proposal and whether Turner crossed the line.