State Leader Who Pushed to Oust “Tennessee Three” found Guilty of Sexual Harassment 

April 20, 2023

A member of the GOP-controlled Tennessee State House leadership has been found guilty by an ethics committee of sexually harassing at least one, and possible two, interns.

Rep. Scotty Campbell (R), who serves as vice chair of the House Republican Caucus that recently voted to expel three Democrats for protesting gun violence on the House floor—the so-called “Tennessee Three”—was not punished despite being found guilty, according to local news media. 

However, potentially thousands of dollars in taxpayer money has been spent to protect one of the victims, according to reports, including relocating her from the building where she and Campbell both had apartments, shipping her furniture back home in another part of the state and placing her in a hotel for the remainder of her internship.

Legislative officials refused to tell reporters how much they’ve paid out, saying that information is confidential.

Campbell appeared to reference a second intern when questioned by reporters on Thursday. 

“I had consensual, adult conversations with two adults off property,” he stated.

A four-member ethics panel, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, found him guilty of sexual harassment, according to a memorandum dated March 29 that was sent to House Speaker Cameron Sexton.

The memorandum said Campbell had “violated policy”—essentially the same reason given for holding votes to expel the “Tennessee Three.” 

Tennessee state Reps. Justin Jones and Justin Pearson, both Black, were expelled on April 6 while Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, survived the vote against her after the trio were accused a week earlier of breaking House rules by calling for gun reform.

On April 10 Nashville’s city council voted unanimously to reinstate Jones to his position in the state House. Two days later, the Shelby County Board of Commissioners in Memphis voted to reinstate Pearson.

However, state law still requires a special election on the seats filled by Jones and Pearson. That’s scheduled for August 3, after a June 15 primary election. Both lawmakers have said they intend to run.

On Wednesday, the Biden Administration invited the trio to visit the White House this coming Monday, to thank them for speaking out for gun reform in the aftermath of a school shooting in Nashville that killed three 9-year-olds and three adults.

Campbell had voted to expel the “Tennessee Three” arguing, “If you were in court and behaved like those three did, you would have been found in contempt of court.”

Campbell has denied assertions from one of the two interns, reportedly 19 years old, who—according to that intern’s friend—said he “proceeded to describe how sexually attractive he finds her.”

“That’s not true,” Campbell told reporters, answering “yes” when asked if the story was made up.

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