Ethics panel rebukes Kentucky lawmaker on animal rights bill

The House Ethics Committee says veteran Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky violated House rules by allowing his wife to lobby staff members on a bill he sponsored that was related to her work. The ethics panel rebuked Whitfield for his actions Thursday, but said they were unintentional.
    
Whitfield, a Republican, is retiring this year after 11 terms.
    
The ethics panel said Whitfield "failed to prohibit lobbying contacts" between his staff and his wife, Constance, a Humane Society lobbyist. Constance Whitfield contacted staff on her husband’s bill to ban a practice that manipulates walking horses to produce an exaggerated, high-stepping gait. Some animal welfare groups consider the practice, known as "soring," abusive.
    
Whitfield has said he did not need his wife to convince him to introduce or support the bill.

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