<H1>[size=3]Kansas House speaker being asked to testify about conflict of interest case[/size]
[size=2]By DAVID KLEPPER
The Star’s Topeka correspondent
Read more: http://www.kansascity.com/2010/03/17/1819800/kansas-house-speaker-being-asked.html#ixzz0iXHOjPLM
TOPEKA | Kansas House Speaker Mike O’Neal will be asked to testify next week before a legislative panel investigating a conflict of interest complaint filed against him.
The lawmaker who filed the complaint, House Minority Leader Paul Davis, a Lawrence Democrat, is set to testify before the panel today.
The panel is looking into O’Neal’s work as an attorney representing a coalition of business groups in a lawsuit challenging a legislative budgeting decision. Democratic lawmakers filed the complaint, arguing O’Neal’s legal work is at odds with his role as the top House lawmaker.
O’Neal, a Hutchinson Republican, maintains that he did nothing wrong and that no rules bar lawmakers who are lawyers from taking cases against the state.
The lawsuit challenges a 2009 legislative decision, which O’Neal opposed, to use money from professional regulatory funds to help balance the budget. O’Neal’s clients, including the Kansas Bankers Association and Kansas Association of Realtors, represent professionals who pay dues to support the funds.
The six-member panel — three Republicans and three Democrats — will recommend to the full House any possible punishment.
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