A petition for impeachment has been filed against State Rep. Robert Goforth (R-KY) who was recently re-elected to serve the 89th district, which includes Jackson County and parts of Madison County and Laurel County.
The petition was filed Tuesday afternoon and presented to the House of Representatives Wednesday.
According to the petition, pursuant to KRS 63.020 of the Kentucky Constitution, eight local residents called for his impeachment for engaging in "misdemeanors in office" including breach of public trust, felonious acts of violence upon women, abuse of office and state property and other misfeasance and malfeasance as outlined in the petition.
The document, sent by Attorney Anna Whites, the counsel for petitioners, cited criminal activity, abuse of office for personal and financial gain, and financial misconduct.
"In 2020, Rep. Goforth allegedly assaulted and harmed his wife to such an extent that she sought protection from law enforcement and suffered bruising and physical damages," it reads.
Goforth, who lives in East Bernstadt, was indicted in September on strangulation and assault charges stemming from an incident which took place in April 2020 at his home. His next court date is Feb. 17 in Laurel Circuit Court.
"The commonwealth requires its elected officials to be persons of good moral character and conduct," it reads. "It is wrong for this representative to sit in the Chamber and be paid for his services with our hard earned tax dollars."
Under the 'Abuse of office and personal and financial gain' section of the petition of impeachment, it refers to a mailer, allegedly sent out by Goforth's wife, to voters across his district.
"Nowhere on the letter or envelope is the requisite disclaimer or 'paid for by' notice," the petition states. "The mailer went out to voters all across his Legislative District. This is a clear and obvious attempt by a State Legislator to use a plea from his abused spouse to influence the judge and prosecutor, contaminate the jury pool and impact the outcome."
Further, the document states that the mailer violates KRS 6.606, as Rep. Goforth was acting to influence those involved in his criminal prosecution, using his office and his public position.
"...The acts committed against his wife by Rep. Goforth should also be considered an obvious and express violation of the Legislative Code of Ethics. The law is clear and holding that an alleged violation of the criminal code which is designated a misdemeanor or felony is also considered a Legislative Ethics Code violation pursuant to KRS 6.632.
In addition, the petition states that, as a healthcare business owner, Goforth will suffer a financial loss and impact if convicted with a felony. Because of this, the law expressly forbids a legislator or candidate to use their position for financial gain.
"The mailer was intended to secure him a positive result both in his election, so he continues to be paid by the commonwealth, and to avoid negative impact on his pharmacy license," it reads.
Finally, the petition cites financial misconduct and stated that Mrs. Goforth was acting on behalf of the representative when she drafted and sent the mailer, and as such, should have been disclosed as an employee.
"Rep. Goforth has not disclosed any such employment," it states. "In fact, Rep. Goforth has made no financial disclosures of any kind in 2020 related to his office or his campaign for re-election."
Rep. Gorforth told The Register that he received the petition, but was focused on the work of the session.
"The voters of my district overwhelmingly re-elected me last November despite a nearly constant assault upon my character. I am focused on the work of this session that the people who sent me here expect me to fulfill," he said.
"Any citizen can submit a petition such as was delivered today targeting me against any elected officials. I expect we will see a variety of frivolous petitions filed against officeholders in both parities considering the amped up political climate we are currently in."
Attempts were made to contact Speaker of the House Rep. David Osbourne (R-KY), and Majority Floor Leader Steven Rudy (R-KY) but they were not available at that time.