The Tennessee state Senate on Wednesday voted to remove a senator from office for being convicted of federal electricity fraud, the first time the House of Representatives has removed a senator since at least the Civil War.
Senator, Katrina Robinson, 41 years old, who convicted of electronic fraud related to federal aid, was removed from the legislature after a 27-to-5 vote. The vote count fell in a partisan direction, with 27 Republicans voting for the move. deportation and five Democrats voted against, and split over arguments over whether the Senate should continue to let Ms. Robinson’s case go. Eddie Weeks, librarian to the legislature, said a Democrat was absent from the vote.
“While expelling a Senator for the first time in history is not something any of us would like to see, it is a necessary action,” said Randy McNally, speaker of the Senate. and a Republican, said in a statement after the vote.
Spokesperson Brandon Puttbrese said Ms Robinson has always denied any wrongdoing. In an interview on Wednesday, Ms. Robinson, who is black, denounced the vote, calling it racist.
“I think today’s vote is an attack on the Black vote, the Black political power,” she said. “I think it is a misinterpretation. I think it’s racist.”
Ahead of the vote, Senator Sara Kyle, a Democrat, urged lawmakers to vote against deportation and “let the legal process go”.
Mr McNally, who is also the governor of Tennessee, said in his statement that lawmakers gave Ms. Robinson time to pursue legal actions in court and gave her “all the appropriate considerations and due process.” appropriate”, but her actions and refusal to resign made voting “inevitable.”
Ms. Robinson, a registered nurse and founder of the Institute of Health Care, a for-profit college, was elected in 2018 to represent District 33 in Shelby County.
She was accused in 2020 for stealing more than $600,000 in federal benefits and used it to pay for campaign events and personal expenses, including her wedding, honeymoon and subsequent divorce, federal prosecutors said. announced in a complaint at the time.
The complaint states that the Institute for Health Care was awarded more than $2.2 million in federal grants, between 2015 and 2019, on the condition that the money be used to train nursing assistants to provide care. geriatric care and provides need-based scholarships to the program.
An investigation into the fund began in 2016 after an anonymous complaint filed with the Department of Health and Human Services alleges Ms. Robinson used $550 in grants to buy a Louis Vuitton handbag, according to reports. oath.
A judge acquitted Ms. Robinson of 15 counts against her, and a jury found her guilty last year of four counts of electronic fraud, involving about $3,400. Last month, a judge acquitted of Ms. Robinson of two of those charges.
Her next trial is in March, according to her spokesman.
One year 2019 opinion of Tennessee attorney general, Herbert Slatery III, says the state constitution gives the Senate and House of Representatives the authority to expel a member for “disorderly conduct.”
Weeks, the legislative librarian, said in an email that there had been two failed or withdrawn attempts to expel the senator in the late 19th century: In 1890, there was a petition, finally was withdrawn, expelling Senator Edward Frazier Mynatt; and in 1882 there was a resolution removing Senator William Kindred Barrett, who was eventually censored and reprimanded.
But Mr. Weeks said the Tennessee state Senate hasn’t expelled a lawmaker since at least the Civil War.
The last time a state legislator was removed from office was in 2016, when a state representative was accused of sexual misconduct and expelled from the Tennessee House of Representatives in a special session.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/02/us/tennessee-senate-katrina-robinson-expulsion.html Tennessee senator expelled from office for conviction