An ethics complaint against a state senator who works for a large-scale hog operation has been dismissed. But the Senate Ethics Committee voted in favor of requiring senators to ask for an ethics ruling in the future if they take jobs which might present a conflict of interest. Republican Senator Mike Sexton of Rockwell City says he’s relieved by the dismissal, and he won’t give up his job, or his role as chairman of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. He says it’s been a very trying time. He says to endure a personal attack has been emotionally tough at times.Two of Sexton’s lawmaker friends attacked the Senate ethics committee action to require senators to ask for advice on potential conflicts of interest. Republican Senator Steve King of Kyron says it’s ridiculous.Republican Representative Mike Cormack of Fort Dodge says it’s all about politics. He says it’s unfortunate that Sexton’s reputation has been smeared because of the charges.The activist group that’s been strongly critical of Sexton, had criticism for today’s ruling. Hugh Espey is rural project director for the group Citizens for Community Improvement.He says that by not finding a conflict of interest, he says the committee’s approving “buying influence” in the legislature. He suggests opening day of the legislature be a job fair for big businesses, and charges that Swine Graphics has paid 45-thousand dollars since October 1999. Espey says they won’t give up the fight against Sexton. He says the group will keep pressuring Senator Stewart Iverson and Mary Kramer to remove Sexton from the Natural Resources Committee. Citizens for Community Improvement helped organize two recent meetings to oppose the building of a 55-hog feedlot proposed for west-central Iowa.
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