In the last five years, at least 80 state lawmakers have been indicted or convicted in political scandals. An ABC News investigation found lobbyists and large corporations are turning to state legislators for favorable contracts and legislation.
In an attempt to look at the ethics and behavior of these state lawmakers that control nearly a trillion dollars and taxes and spending, ABC News sent five young graduate school journalists into the field. At the gathering of more than 1300 staffers and politicians in Louisville, Kentucky, ABC News found behavior “that could be best described as unbecoming.”
Taking advantage of the flowing booze and loud music, one legislator from Puerto Rico was caught on camera “groping and kissing” a female student journalist.
In the video, Rep. Jorge Navarro Suarez can clearly be seen holding an alcoholic beverage and placing his cheek on the student’s cheek. She appears to decline his advances and he backs away.
In a statement, Navarro denied any misconduct by saying he moved close to the student to better understand her because the music was loud and he doesn’t speak english well.
Another lawmaker was seen threatening a student journalist with a golf club when cameras caught him skipping a good government seminar to play golf with a lobbyist.
Gene Rose, a spokesperson for the National Conference of State Legislatures, denied that the group had any connection with the private events in which the questionable behavior occurred.
“NCSL does not sponsor, endorse or otherwise encourage participation in events outside of our schedule,” she said.
This video is from ABC News, broadcast Oct. 18, 2010.