Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, spoke on an unemployment benefit extension he and other senators threatened to filibuster during the 2011 regular session.

An ethics complaint has been filed against state Sen. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, by three retired Franklin County teachers over an encounter they had with him at his office in the state Capitol last legislative session.

The complaint was filed with the Senate’s Committee on Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics by Tom Smith, Washington, Lloyd Klinedinst, Villa Ridge, and Frank Rogan, Union.

The complaint cites three Letters to the Editor which appeared in the May 25 edition of The Missourian, where the teachers complained of a May 11 meeting with Nieves in his legislative office. The teachers allege in the letters that Nieves shouted expletives at them when they stopped by his office to discuss education issues.

Nieves acknowledged the confrontation in a subsequent letter to The Missourian and responded that it was irresponsible of Smith and the newspaper to publish the fact that he was scheduled to be out of town at a conservative conference. In a piece titled “Protecting My Family Trumps Preserving My Job” Nieves alleged Smith was trying to intimidate his family.

The controversy touched off a flurry of comments in newspapers, blogs and on social media platforms.

The complaint argues that the incident at the Capitol was a “serious breach of conduct unbecoming our elected official.”

The Senate committee’s members who will review the complaint are: Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter; Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles; Bob Dixon, R-Springfield; Jack Goodman, R-Mount Vernon; Brad Lager, R-Savannah; Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, and Tim Green, D-Spanish Lake.

Nieves did not return a phone call for this story.