House Ethics Committee votes not to pursue case against DeBerry - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

House Ethics Committee votes not to pursue case against DeBerry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - An ethics complaint against House Speaker Pro Tem Lois DeBerry over her acceptance of $200 from an undercover FBI agent ended Thursday when a committee voted 5-4 not to pursue an investigation.

DeBerry, D-Memphis, told the House Ethics Committee that she had done nothing wrong although her actions "were a lapse in judgment."

The Ethics Committee, which is divided among Democrats and Republicans, adjourned without finding probable cause against the 33-year veteran of the General Assembly. A majority vote was needed to pursue further investigation.

"I'm ready to move on," said DeBerry, a member of the committee who recused herself. "Deep down in my heart, I know that I have never done anything and never will do anything to embarrass this institution."

DeBerry has said a man who took her to a Tunica casino last year, gave her $200 and wished her a "happy birthday" she now knows was an undercover agent posing as an executive of E-Cycle Management Inc., a company concocted by the FBI as part of its Tennessee Waltz government corruption sting.

DeBerry has not been charged, but the investigation has so far indicted seven current or former public officials on bribery and extortion charges.

Freshman Rep. Brian Kelsey filed the complaint against DeBerry and said he's disappointed no further action was taken.

"I filed this complaint to try to restore some of the public confidence in the Legislature," the Germantown Republican said. "I think when we make bad decisions, there has to be consequences from that, and the public needs to see that there are consequences."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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