Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Thursday called on State Senator Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis) to step down from her position, following an investigation by the Tennessee Senate Ethics Committee.
The Memphis lawmaker was found guilty on two counts of wire fraud, stemming from an investigation into the improper use of federal grant money awarded to the health care school she operates. Originally, she was found guilty on four counts of the offense, but a judge dismissed two of the charges.
Throughout the process, Robinson has maintained that she is innocent.
The statement from McNally follows the investigation, where lawmakers voted 4 to 1 that the Democrat should be expelled from her seat.
“The Senate Ethics Committee conducted a fair and deliberative hearing on the complaints against Senator Robinson. They considered not only her explicit legal status but also the ethical and moral failings indicative in the charges against her. The committee found the charges against her violate the Code of Ethics of the Senate and require expulsion. The removal of a Senator under these circumstances is a very serious and historically unprecedented step. This is not something we consider lightly. I continue to hope Senator Robinson will reflect on the findings of the committee and choose to step down voluntarily in the best interest of the Senate,” McNally said in an emailed statement.
Previously, Robinson and members of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators urged the committee to pause the hearings until a “final ruling” was handed down by the court.
“A hasty decision made by this Committee prior to the courts final ruling will also have negative effects on the citizens of the 33rd Tennessee Senatorial District and Shelby County, TN as a whole,” the group wrote in a letter.
— Tennessee Black Caucus (@TNblackcaucus) January 20, 2022
The full Tennessee Senate will now consider the recommendation from the panel.
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