Hoover Sex Scandal: Unanswered Questions

Bruce Maples
Bruce Maples
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When it comes to the Hoover/GOP/MoreToCome sex scandal in Frankfort, there are facts, and there are questions. Here are my current set of unanswered questions.

Who Is Behind “Jeff S. Hoover” on Twitter?

“Jeff S. Hoover” (hence JSH) is a parody account of former House Speaker Jeff Hoover on Twitter. Its first tweet was on Jan. 17 of this year.

Actually, its first FOUR tweets were on the 17th, and all referenced “crybaby workers.”

From there, the account tweeted fairly regularly, with most tweets making fun of Hoover or Mitch McConnell.

  • Feb 7 — three tweets: one about R govs, two about Mitch
  • Feb 8 — two tweets, both about Mitch
  • Feb 10 — one tweet retweeting KDP about “fit on House floor”
  • Feb 14 — two tweets, one retweeting Attica Scott about eliminating sexual harassment training, one retweeting Jeff Hoover that has been deleted

After that? Radio silence from Feb. 14 to Oct 20. No public tweets … or they’ve all been deleted. Then the tweets start again:

  • On October 20, a single tweet talking about Hoover sweating at the pension press conference, and asking “Wonder why?”
  • Oct 24 — retweet of a Bevin parody account about using OPM (Other People’s Money)
  • Oct 25 — retweet of McConnell tweet about tax reform, noting that the benefits of tax reform are aimed at McConnell’s friends
  • Oct 27 — retweet of WaPo story on sex harassment in Congress (Hmm)

Then, on October 27, the account changes from parody to accusation. Over the space of a week, the account posts 16 tweets, starting with this on 10/27

followed by this on Nov. 1

You can go to the account yourself and read the other tweets. Suffice it to say, this account either lit the fire or helped it get lit, then kept it going until Hoover resigned.

Why was the account silent for eight months? No reason given in the tweets themselves. I have a suspicion as to the reason, but it is just that: a suspicion.

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Could the account have been run by more than one person? Absolutely. The original author could have turned the account over to someone else. It is perhaps informative that after the period of silence, the account comes up again just about the time the story is going to break. Or, could be the same person, with different motivations.

How did the JSH account get the screenshots of the text messages?

In this day of digital files, file sharing, and anonymous accounts, it can be incredibly easy for digital data to make its way through multiple owners and devices. The fact that the JSH account got them proves nothing … but raises some interesting questions.

Could JSH actually be the claimant in the Hoover harassment situation, the person on the other end of the text message conversations? Possibly. That would certainly have made it easy to get the screenshots of the text messages (assuming they are real and not photo-shopped).

Note, though, that the settlement identified that person as a member of the staff – which means that a member of the Republican leadership staff opened an account parodying the senior Republican in the House. Pretty risky behavior if found out, so not likely.

What is more likely is that the person or persons running the JSH account was/is friends with the victim.

Why did the recipient of the text messages use an iPhone with no SIM card? A phone without a SIM card cannot make calls – but it can send and receive iMessages (texts sent via iCloud), as long as there is a wifi connection. Why would you have a phone that couldn’t call? So it could be used for texting only.

Is this common? Is it legal? Is it a way around both open records requests and depositions? I don’t know. Someone who works in Frankfort would be better suited to answer. But it is certainly interesting.

Who was behind getting this story out into the open, and why, and why now?

Just because the JSH Twitter account put things into motion by posting those tweets, doesn’t mean that JSH was acting either alone or on his/her own initiative. Was there someone else, or a group of someones, who wanted this out there?

And if so, what was their motive? Were they upset about the harassment itself by Hoover, and didn’t want him to get away with settling? Were they upset about a culture in Frankfort that treats women as sex objects, and they decided to blow it up?

Or, is there a political reason? Did a certain political leader, or a number of them, decide that Hoover was an impediment to their agenda? Or, could someone from the Democratic side have thought that blowing up the Republican party in Frankfort would be a good way to slow down that same agenda?

And why now? Is the timing tied to the pension bill or bills? Tied to the special session that can’t seem to get scheduled? Tied to the fact that Hoover did not seem capable of lining up enough votes to get the Governor’s pension bill passed? And if he and a few others were out of the way, there would be enough votes?

And finally, where did the money come from for the settlement?

If the JSH account is correct, someone was paid many thousands of dollars, and that money had to come from somewhere. What if it came out of a campaign fund? (That would be illegal, as far as I know.) What if one or more wealthy donors put up the money? And if they did, and Hoover had to resign anyway, how are they feeling about that?

Back to the earlier political question: If powerful figures decided they wanted to get rid of Hoover, might they have learned of the texts, lined up a lawyer to send the demand letter, then raised the money for their “friend,” only to then turn on him and tell him he has to resign? Sure, it’s a political soap opera plot – but sometimes that’s actually how things work.

Conclusion

Let’s be clear: assuming (again) that the screenshots of the text messages are real and not faked, it’s clear that Jeff Hoover crossed one or more lines in a relationship with one of his staff. No one made him do that, and it did not start out as a setup by outside forces. But the rest of the story, including how it was put into the public eye, how the text messages came to be screenshot and shared, and where the money came from for the settlement? We’re still looking for answers to those questions.

If you have any of those answers, we’d love to hear them.

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Thoughts? Comments? Add yours to the comment section at the bottom of the page!

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Bruce Maples has been involved in politics and activism since 2004, when he became active in the Kerry Kentucky movement. (Read the rest of his bio on the Bruce Maples Bio page in the bottom nav bar.)

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