A leading statehouse Republican is calling on Senator Matt McCoy to scale back his legislative work until his arraignment at the end of the month. McCoy, a Des Moines Democrat, was indicted this week on one count of attempted extortion. He’s accused of threatening to derail a state contract for a Des Moines security firm. Senate GOP leader Mary Lundby of Marion says until McCoy’s exonerated, he should step down from his committee assignments.
"Serving on committees is about serving in the public eye," Lundby says. "And there should be no question…until this trial is over that were was any influence for any reason." But Senate Democratic leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says McCoy has a right to his day in court, and until then should only excuse himself if a bill coming up for Senate action is related to his indictment.
If there’s any issue that looks like it might be related in any way to the subject matter the complaint involves against McCoy, Gronstal says they’d ask him to recuse himself from that issue. Lundby says while McCoy may be innocent until proven guilty, even the perception of impropriety could taint legislation at the statehouse.
Lundby says people are watching, and says the standard for any elected body like the state senate should be high. She says there should not be any question that any senator used undue influence on any piece of legislation. But Gronstal says he will not ask McCoy to give up his committee assignments.
Gronstal says McCoy will continue to represent constituents in his district, and the court case will proceed.