I read with great interest a story this Wednesday about Greg Stumbo’s ambitious attempt to become Speaker of the House. In the story, Larry Dale Keeling attempted to paint the picture that Stumbo is outworking current Speaker Jody Richards in his bid to head the State House.
Keeling quoted from a story Bill Bartleman, who wrote:
“Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, was one of the first people to call Renfro on Saturday after she was picked. He also invited her to a luncheon he hosted Monday in Frankfort to introduce House candidates to potential campaign donors.”
And went on to say himself that:
If Stumbo is helping D House candidates find the folks who can help finance their campaigns, it’s a pretty solid bet he indeed will try to unseat Richards.
So Greg Stumbo hosted a luncheon for Democratic House candidates that connected them with major campaign donors. Interesting. Never satisfied with what I read in any newspaper, I started to dig.
Beyond what Keeling says in his story, I have been able to determine that the eight candidates who attended Stumbo’s luncheon were: Tommy Thompson, Larry Clark, Dennis Keene, Zana Renfro, Mike Lawrence, Martha Jane King, and Kent Stevens.
That’s all interesting and fine and dandy, right? Right.
But what’s most interesting is what Keeling leaves out of his story.
That luncheon was held on Monday at the lobbying firm of Southern Strategy Group on Shelby Street in Frankfort. The firm of Leigh Ann Thacker, a lobbyist who, according to reports, once (or still does) date fellow lobbyist Gene McLean, the king of the casino/horse racing/beer lobby and tight friend of Greg Stumbo. Meaning that Stumbo was connecting Democratic House candidates with lobbyists who then gave them campaign contributions or promised to raise money for them. Meaning Greg Stumbo and the eight others– who included Larry Clark– skirted, if not outright broke, ethics laws galore.
Are these the kind of people you want leading your State Legislature?