Rep. DeBerry resigns from ethics committee - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rep. DeBerry resigns from ethics committee

Rep. Lois DeBerry, the second-ranking leader in the state House, resigned today from a joint committee of lawmakers looking into an overhaul of ethics laws.

"I did not make this decision because I believe I have done anything wrong, or because anyone suggested or requested that I resign from this position," she said in a statement. "I leave the committee because it should be allowed to complete its work without any distractions."

DeBerry, who serves as House Speaker Pro Tem and was named earlier this year to the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethics, said in a story published by The Commercial Appeal Wednesday that she took $200 cash from a representative of a fake company at the heart of the government's Tennessee Waltz corruption investigation.

The money, which was used for gambling at a Mississippi casino, came from an FBI agent posing as a representative of E-Cycle Management, a bogus company that was supposedly seeking favorable legislation in Nashville.

DeBerry said Thursday that she has done nothing she believes is wrong, illegal or immoral.

"I have never accepted a gift, money or anything of value in exchange for promoting or defeating legislation, or for any other action by me as a legislator," she said.

Tennessee Waltz has led to bribery and extortion charges against five current or former state lawmakers and two other defendants identified as "bag men." DeBerry is not charged in the case.

The investigation, which is ongoing, has raised statewide criticism of the standard of ethics followed by lawmakers.

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