Discipline against Ohio Dem was justified, investigation finds

An independent state-ordered investigation concluded that Ohio legislative leaders were correct in disciplining a state lawmaker who was removed from committees by House Democratic leaders and barred from contacting staff following an alleged pattern of “erratic and abusive behavior.”

The investigation found that numerous witnesses corroborated accusations about Cleveland-area Democratic Rep. Elliot Forhan's behavior over the past year, including confrontations with other lawmakers, constituents and lobbyists. The investigation, requested by executives, was conducted by a Columbus law firm appointed by Republican Attorney General Dave Yost.

OHIO DEMOCRATIC UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER ALLEGATIONS OF “ERRATICAL AND ABUSIVE” BEHAVIOR

In response to the allegations, Forhan lost all of his committee assignments last November and was barred by House Minority Leader C. Allison Russo from contacting Democratic interns, pages and legislative aides. He was also scheduled to be accompanied by a House sergeant-at-arms while at the Statehouse.

Image of the Ohio State Capitol

The Ohio State Capitol in Columbus, Ohio. (Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The report says Forhan repeatedly failed to comply with the latter provision, showed up unannounced at the Statehouse and a nearby legislative building, and yelled at the sergeant-at-arms or one of his aides at least twice.

Forhan's behavior, if left unaddressed, would have posed “a significant threat to the institutional integrity of the Ohio House and its reputation, and would have posed a credible risk of escalation to violence or violent behavior,” the report concludes. However, he also said Forhan's actions to date “do not warrant his removal from office.”

Forhan told Cleveland.com that the investigation was a “sham” that did not show that his actions amounted to “violence or violent behavior” but simply stated that there might be some in the future, a statement he also disagreed with.

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Forhan was elected to his first term in 2022, but was defeated in the Democratic primary last month, finishing third overall. His term will expire at the end of the year.

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