Spivey criticizes Harwell; Butt defends Spivey

State Rep. Billy Spivey, R-Lewisburg, has aimed fresh round of criticism at House Speaker Beth Harwell, who had declared him “irresponsible” for publicizing a complaint against House Clerk Joe McCord earlier in the week.

He says the speaker has adopted a “kill the messenger” stance and suggests Harwell was involved in attention paid to a fishing trip he and other legislators made to the Gulf coast with a school voucher advocate.

(Note: The letter to media is HERE, as provided by Nashville Post.)

Harwell had said earlier (post HERE) that Spivey had been “a longtime defender” of ousted Rep. Jeremy Durham, R-Franklin, and linked that to the complaint that McCord used abusive language toward a legislative staffer and made an offensive gesture toward the woman’s 2-year-old granddaughter.

Connie Ridley, director of the Office of Legislative Administration, said the matter in question was “fully investigated” but declined to provide specifics about the incident.

Further from The Tennessean:

Spivey was not the only lawmaker to push back against Harwell on Thursday. Rep. Sheila Butt, R-Columbia, issued a statement in which she defended Spivey.

“Representative Spivey has served his district with honesty and integrity and to impugn his character or suggest that the allegations made are a ‘joke’ even before any further investigation, may be politically expedient, however, it is very unprofessional,” said Butt, who is running to be the next House Majority Leader.

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