Shades of Tom DeLay, how much will it take to defend the Fletcher administration?
From the Herald Leader:
“Several prominent Republicans are creating a fund that will pay the legal bills of administration officials and staffers targeted in the attorney general's investigation of state hiring practices.
Spencer Noe, general counsel of the Kentucky Republican Party, confirmed yesterday that he is helping to set up a corporation that will begin collecting donations as early as next week.”
“….Noe also said that he and Lewis, now a Louisville lobbyist and formerly Fletcher's public-policy adviser, are drafting a questionnaire for prospective donors to root out anyone who might have a conflict of interest.
The ethics commission's May 27 opinion permits contributions only from companies and individuals who "do not do business with, are not regulated by, and are not seeking to influence the actions of the individual state agencies for which each employee works."
Unfortunately the opinion does not appear to be on the Executive Branch Ethics Commission website.
But here’s an idea - why don’t we publish the names, spouses names and employers of all the donors. That should help root out those with a conflict of interest.
If some one gets this money to pay for legal expenses, then is the money income to the defendant? It must not be because according to Kentucky Revised Statues:
11A.040 Acts prohibited for public servant or officer -- Exception.
“(5) A public servant shall not knowingly accept compensation, other than that provided by law for public servants, for performance of his official duties without the prior approval of the commission.”
And surely the Ethics Commission considered that fact in its’ decision.
The money must just be charity then.
Of course rooting out conflicts of interest hasn’t really been a primary motivator for this administration. Last time I checked Lexington-Fayette Urban County Councilman George Myers was still violating Kentucky Revised Statues.
Maybe the LFUCG webmaster needs to link to Myers bio here - Cabinet of Health and Family Services website:
“George G. Myers, 41, of Lexington has been named cabinet Ombudsman.
Myers is the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government eighth district councilman and served the council as legislative aide from 2001 until his election to the council in 2004. “
From the Kentucky Revised Statues:
KRS 11A.10 (7) Executive Branch Code of Ethics
“Officer” means all major management personnel in the executive branch of state government, including the secretary of the cabinet, the Governor’s chief executive officers, cabinet secretaries, deputy cabinet secretaries, general counsels, commissioners, deputy commissioners, principal assistants, division directors……”
KRS 61.080 (1) Incompatible Offices
“No person shall, at the same time, be a state officer, a deputy state officer, or a member of the General Assembly, and an officer of any county, city, consolidated local government, or other municipality, or an employee thereof.”
KRS 61.090 Acceptance of incompatible office vacates first
The acceptance by one (1) in office to another office or employment incompatible with the one (1) he holds shall operate to vacate the first”
I digress, back to the defending the Fletcherites. Again from the Herald Leader:
“But Noe maintained that the fund won't be political.
"Anybody can say that, but I don't think that's a fair criticism," he said. "It will be a separate and distinct legal entity."
Let’s me get this straight, a fund organized by the general counsel of the Kentucky Republican Party and a lobbyist to defend partisan elected officials and political appointees from the results of their actions in office, and the fund won’t be political.