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PSHA Releases Unredacted Document Contradicting Whitfield Press Release



Congressman Ed Whitfield’s office recently released a letter from the Performance Show Horse Association with the content redacted.  Whitfield’s Press Secretary Marty Irby represented that the document was an ethics complaint.  Specifically that release stated, “…filed an ethics complaint against him (Congressman Whitfield) with the House Ethics Committee.”

Attached please find the letter from December 13, 2013 that PSHA sent in response to comments made by Whitfield at the November 2013 subcommittee hearing to the The Honorable K. Michael Conaway and The Honorable Linda T. Sanchez, who are Members of the House Ethics Committee, but they are not the Office of Congressional Ethics which is where a formal complaint must be filed. First and foremost we are unsure why Congressman Whitfield and his Press Secretary Marty Irby have not released the full letter nor why they continue to highlight this issue. As you can read in the letter, PSHA believed, and still believes and stands behind this letter 100%, that there are serious allegations of potential ethics violations that should be investigated. However to be very clear PSHA did not file a Formal Complaint as is suggested by the Congressman. 

In the letter you will note that PSHA ask numerous times for advice on the proper process and procedures to file a complaint.  While it is stated that PSHA requests the Committee to investigate it is clear that PSHA also understands there is a process that must be followed in order to even initiate an investigation. According to the Office of Congressional Ethics web site a “Formal Complaint” requires the following; 

"The following information should be included in any submission:
1. the name, address, telephone number and e-mail address, if any, of the person submitting the information, and the organization s/he is affiliated with, if any;
2. the full name of the subject of the allegation;
3. the date(s) the alleged conduct occurred;
4. a concise statement of facts (or, the source of the information in the event that the person submitting the information does not have first-hand knowledge of the facts);
5. the law, regulation or rule allegedly violated, if known;
6. if applicable, name(s) and contact information for any potential witness(es);
7. if applicable, copies of any documents related to the allegation;
8. an affirmation of the person submitting the information that "to the best of my knowledge and ability all evidence submitted was not obtained in violation of any law, rule or regulation"; and
9. a signed declaration acknowledging that section 1001 of title 18 United States Code (popularly known as the False Statement Act) applies to the information provided. A copy of the False Statements is available on the OCE's website and can be provided on request”

PSHA sent its letter to the Members of the House Committee of Ethics not the Office of Congressional Ethics. It was not a formal complaint and did not comply with any of the formal requirements. It was not signed or notarized nor did it contain the required information. The individuals to whom the letter was addressed never responded nor acknowledged the letter. 

Again PSHA stands behind the statements in the letter, but it did not intend nor did it file a formal complaint. As to why the Congressman and his Press Secretary state otherwise the only reason we can surmise is they are trying to mislead reporters and the public about the real investigation regarding the Congressman’s involvement with another lobbyist in a real estate transaction as reported by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Politico, Fox News and other media outlets.

This distortion of the facts by Congressman Whitfield and his staff is a pattern of behavior on this issue.  As just one example, previously, at the subcommittee hearing on this topic in November, Congressman Whitfield used props such as logging chains to demonstrate the acts of cruelty that he presented as commonplace on Tennessee Walking Horses.  Those chains weigh in the range of 24oz and are illegal to be used on a Tennessee Walking Horse.  What Congressman Whitfield did not tell the subcommittee members is that the maximum allowable action device on a Tennessee Walking Horse is 6oz and those action devices are weighed as part of the inspection process that every Tennessee Walking Horse goes through every single time it is shown. 

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