JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A St. Louis lawmaker is censured by the Missouri House of Representatives after being accused of having sex with an intern.
Rep. Wiley Price is the first House member to be censured by his chamber. The nearly two-hour debate Wednesday, Jan. 13, left some members emotional while Price spoke for the first time since the report came out last month.
“I apologize to my friends and my colleagues for even putting us in this position,” Price said on the House floor Wednesday. “I thought a lot about what I could have differently to never have been in this position.”
Price is a Democrat re-elected in November and represents a portion of St. Louis City near the Central West End. He now faces allegations of having sex with an intern. Last month, a House Ethic Committee report was released saying the intern was not working for Price, but allegedly he threatened and intimated his staff member for reporting the relationship.
“I said in the ethics report, or in the ethics committee, that I had a problem with a lot of discrepancies that were in the report and there were a lot of things that were omitted,” Price said.
The report naming Price was filed on Jan. 27, 2020, about a potential violation of House Policy B-5, the rule that prohibits romantic relationships between lawmakers and interns.
During session Wednesday, House member discussed the report, saying Price should be censured, stripped of his committee assignments and have to pay the cost of the investigation.
“The Rep. of the 84th have no service from nor supervision over any intern for the remainder of his membership in the House,” House Ethics Committee Chairman J. Eggleston said to the House while reading the report.
The encounter happened after a party at a bar and grill. The report says that Price told a person who also attended the party. The person who Price told about the sexual encounter filed a report with House staff.
Speaking for the first time since the report was released, Price said his staff member told the committee the following:
“She said I came into my office on a tech, unlocked my office door, called her into my office and said ‘Hey, I had sex with an intern last night,'” Price said. “I don’t really know where the conversation goes, but this is what she reports. She reports that I said I had sex with the intern last night.”
Price never admitted Wednesday if he had sex with the intern, but previously he and the intern said it didn’t happen. The intern also denied texting or speaking to Price on a cell phone. He also denied having her number.
“There was a point I put in jeopardy by saying I didn’t even have this woman’s number,” Price said. “Poor judgment on my behalf. For that, I apologize for my colleagues but, more importantly, my constituents. Those who sent me here to do a job, which I will continue to do and do my the best of my ability.”
Cell phone records were obtained for Price and the intern, and it showed 26 text messages between them—the calls coming from both parties.
Before Price finished talking on the floor, he told the members, “I will be accepting the censure.”
After Price spoke, emotions ran high and an amendment was filed by Rep. Jered Taylor, R – Christian Co., to expel Price from the House.
“I didn’t come by this decision lightly,” Taylor said while getting choked up. “I apologize. I’m an emotional person when I’m passionate about something.”
Democrats argued against the amendment to expel Price, while Republicans spoke in favor of it.
The amendment needed 109 votes to pass but fell short by 18 votes.
The House did approve to censure Price, which means he will be removed from his committee assignments, will not be allowed to have an intern for the remainder of his time in the House and he has to pay back the cost of the investigation to the House of Representatives which is nearly $23,000.