U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield is resigning from office next week, four months before his term ends.
Whitfield, an 11-term congressman from Hopkinsville, had announced his retirement last year in the midst of a House Committee on Ethics investigation. The inquiry concluded last month with the committee publicly reprimanding the Republican congressman for violating House rules in connection with his wife’s former lobbying activities on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States.
The committee found that Whitfield failed to prohibit lobbying contacts between his wife, Connie Harriman-Whitfield, and his staff, and that he “dispensed special privileges” to her.
Whitfield notified Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Speaker Paul Ryan about his retirement, according to a statement released by his office. His last day will be Sept. 6.
Whitfield signaled his intentions in a letter sent Monday to Bevin. Bevin is responsible for calling a special election on Nov. 8 to fill the vacant seat, according to the Associated Press.
Whitfield will announce “his future plans within the next 30 days,” his office said.
Whitfield’s spokesman did not immediately comment beyond the press release.
WFPL’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting previously revealed other ethical missteps by Whitfield in a series of stories in 2014. KyCIR reported that Whitfield, his wife and another lobbyist, Juanita Duggan, had a longstanding financial partnership and joint ownership in property at a West Virginia luxury resort. Both Harriman-Whitfield and Duggan lobbied for clients that had legislative business before Whitfield in Congress. (Read: How a Congressman, His Wife and a Lobbyist Mixed Politics, Personal Finances)
In 2015, KyCIR reported that Whitfield promoted LaserLock Technologies, a Washington, D.C.-based firm offering a variety of anti-counterfeiting solutions, during testimony before a House committee. He did not disclose that his wife was a LaserLock board member, company director and stockholder. (Read “Did Kentucky Congressman Give an Assist to Wife, Failing Tech Company?“)
Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement on Whitfield’s resignation:
“For more than two decades, Congressman Ed Whitfield has served the people of Kentucky’s First District with distinction. During his tenure in Congress, Ed has fought hard for the people of western Kentucky and it has been an honor working alongside him on a variety of issues, including our support for the workers at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and for the men and women serving our country stationed at Fort Campbell. I am thankful for our many years of friendship, and Elaine and I extend every best wish to Ed, Connie and the entire Whitfield family in the years ahead.”