Update: Lobbyists Still Own Frankfort

With the primary election just days away, Rowan County clerk candidate David Ermold walked through his campaign office and joked that the bags under his eyes have grown darker by the day. [H-L]

Two outside groups that successfully meddled in West Virginia’s Republican Senate primary this month by spending millions of dollars on advertising were funded entirely by donors from outside the state. [HuffPo]

Tobacco giant Altria spent a massive $379,760 to lobby the 2018 Kentucky General Assembly – more than twice as much as any of the 720 corporations and associations that are registered to lobby the legislature. [C-J/AKN]

Workers don’t matter and have never mattered to Republicans. The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to the rights of workers on Monday by allowing companies to require them to sign away their ability to bring class-action claims against management, agreements already in place for about 25 million employees. [Reuters]

The Richmond City Commission met in executive session Friday to narrow down the list of candidates for city manager. The meeting took less than an hour and included Mayor Jim Barnes and commissioners Robert Blythe, Jim Newby and Morgan Eaves. [Richmond Register]

Last year, white supremacist Matthew Heimbach — one of the most prominent faces of the so-called “alt-right” — was riding high, and talking about potentially running for Indiana state legislature. Now, though, Heimbach has different plans in store. With his group and his marriage in tatters, Heimbach will be spending part of the summer in jail. [ThinkProgress]

Jackie Risden-Smith apologized repeatedly for overusing the word “excited” during a 45-minute phone interview, but she probably didn’t need to. [Ashland Independent]

The Justice Department and the F.B.I. are investigating Cambridge Analytica, the now-defunct political data firm, and have sought to question former employees and banks that handled its business, according to an American official and other people familiar with the inquiry. [NY Times]

Despite fears that the 2018-2019 budget would look radically different than in previous years due to changes in Frankfort, the budget for Rowan County Schools remains stable. [The Morehead News]

Former coal executive and ex-convict Don Blankenship on Monday announced plans to launch a third-party bid for a West Virginia Senate seat after losing the GOP primary to state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. [The Hill]

Kentucky Republicans like to say it’s a new day in the Bluegrass State after Republicans took complete control of Frankfort in the 2016 election by capturing the majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in nearly 100 years. [Ronnie Ellis]

Kentucky Derby winner Justify won the Preakness Stakes on Saturday and is on course to become the 13th horse to win US flat racing’s Triple Crown. [BBC]

One of the more popular chants from thousands of teachers at the Capitol this spring protesting a controversial pension bill was “We’ll remember in November.” [H-L]

Two U.S. citizens said they were detained last week by a Border Patrol agent in Montana after he overheard them speaking Spanish to each other in a convenience store. [HuffPo]

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It’s Nancy Rodriguez Flashback Time

The University of Louisville and its foundation have sued the school’s former president and other officials in a lawsuit claiming they conspired to divert millions of dollars from the foundation’s endowment. The suit was filed Wednesday in state court. It says former President James Ramsey and his chief of staff, Kathleen McDaniel Smith, colluded to pay excessive compensation to themselves and others. [H-L]

Here’s more on the whole thing. The Board of Trustees decided Wednesday to sue Ramsey, Kathleen McDaniel Smith and others related to past oversight of the U of L Foundation. [WDRB]

Strange how no one bothers to mention that Jerry Stephenson, a charlatan, is one of the country’s most notorious homophobes. [H-L]

Donald Trump repeatedly vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’d only hire “the best people in the world” for his administration. Now, with many of his “best people’ ousted from the Cabinet and other high-level positions, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is wondering what happened to that pledge. [HuffPo]

Just a reminder that Nancy Rodriguez misreported a bunch of the Robert Felner scandal and intentionally ignored what was occurring at the University of Louisville. Now she’s spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education. A perfect fit for covering up corruption. [C-J/AKN]

Last month, we reported that over the past five years, IBM has targeted its older U.S. employees for layoffs. The numbers are staggering: Since 2013, we estimated IBM eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over. [ProPublica]

Former Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin entered an Alford plea after years of litigation. [WLEX18]

Over the past year, U.S. cities and states have been tripping head-over-heels in an effort to be the host of the next Amazon headquarters. Last year, New Jersey approved an incentive package that would give Amazon tax breaks worth $7 billion if it moved to Newark. Philadelphia has offered $2 billion in tax exemptions over 10 years, Georgia $1 billion, and Maryland a whopping $8.5 billion. But while state lawmakers continue to one-up each other in the race to host Amazon’s new HQ, a very different picture has emerged at the lower rungs of the company, where warehouse employees are so underpaid that they already incredibly reliant on state subsidies to survive. [ThinkProgress]

With the Madison County Detention Center over the last two years often housing more than double the number of inmates it is designed to hold, the county attorney is looking at bringing back a home incarceration program to get some non-violent offenders out of the jail. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump and the New Republicans are now challenging Native Americans’ historical standing. [Politico]

The incumbent and two challengers are vying for the state Senate seat in the 18th district. Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, is facing Democrat Chester “Chuck” Highley of Rush in the primary. The winner will run against Republican Scott Sharp of Ashland in the general election. [Ashland Independent]

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, met personally last year with J. Steven Hart, the lobbyist whose wife had rented him a $50-a-night Capitol Hill condo, a disclosure that contradicts earlier statements that E.P.A. lobbying by Mr. Hart had not occurred. [NY Times]

A former Horse Cave police officer who has been charged with one count of wire fraud is scheduled to change his plea in May in U.S. District Court. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Reptilian menaces called Silurians evolved on Earth before humankind — at least in the “Doctor Who” rendition of the universe. But, science fiction aside, how would we know if some advanced civilization existed on our home planet millions of years before brainy humans showed up? This is a serious question, and serious scientists are speculating about what traces these potential predecessors might have left behind. And they’re calling this possibility the Silurian hypothesis. [WaPo]

A representative from Alliance Coal came to the Pike County Fiscal Court with a difficult proposition last week: provide a tax break worth millions over the next 12 years, or say goodbye to the 250 jobs the company provides in the county. [H-L]

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s budget director and the acting head of a top consumer watchdog group, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with an anecdote about his time in the House of Representatives. [HuffPo]

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KRS Trustees Are Still Shady As Hell

The Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to not join a lawsuit filed by eight public employees alleging that several major investment firms cheated it on up to $1.5 billion in hedge fund investments, with blame to be shared by some of its own current and former trustees and officials. [John Cheves]

New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted on Saturday that a source quoted in her story derided by Donald Trump as a “drunk/drugged up loser” is likely former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg. [HuffPo]

In a definitive win for open records advocates, the state attorney general’s office has found Kentucky State Police violated the state public records law by denying Courier Journal requests for the agency’s database of arrest and traffic citations. [C-J/AKN]

Jeff Sessions, miniature human but full-sized racist, wants to remove domestic abuse as a legal justification for seeking asylum. [Politico]

White Hall State Historic Site is set to break ground Saturday for the first hemp crop grown on the property since the early 19th century. The inaugural plot will be featured on the Heritage Hemp Trail, and showcased during events and tours. [Richmond Register]

Schoolchildren across the US walked out of their classrooms on Friday morning to demonstrate against gun violence. The National School Walkout marked the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. [BBC]

Carter County residents stood in a line that stretched out the door and down the hallway as they waited for their turn to receive vaccinations against the Hepatitis A virus at the Carter County Health Department on Thursday. [Ashland Independent]

Memos written by the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, that were released on Thursday revealed several new details about his relationship with Donald Trump and the president’s first chief of staff, Reince Priebus. [NY Times]

Rowan County Fiscal Court has decided against any further discussion about potentially contracting out the services of the Tri-County Animal Shelter. [The Morehead News]

Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them, a spokesman for Davidson confirmed. [WaPo]

Jeff Hoover, the former Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, and three other lawmakers paid $110,000 last fall to settle a sexual harassment claim by a young female legislative aide against the backdrop of a national debate about sexual harassment. And Julian Carroll did more than “grope” a man – it was on tape and the victim went public. [Ronnie Ellis]

Judge James Ho has been a federal judge for only a few months. Until Wednesday, he had never handed down a judicial opinion in his life. But the Trump appointee’s very first opinion, a dissent calling for a sweeping assault on campaign contribution limits, is a doozy. [ThinkProgress]

Andy Barr couldn’t get a word in. “Some of you agree with what I’m doing in Washington,” Barr said in Richmond, where the crowd often booed him. “A lot of you do.” That statement will be put to the test in November. [H-L]

Ahead of a tight primary on May 8, Dennis Kucinich’s bid to win the Democratic nomination for the critical gubernatorial race in Ohio landed in trouble this week because of the revelation that he was paid $20,000 last year by a group sympathetic to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. Now, largely overlooked election filings show that the former congressman’s political apparatus received thousands of more dollars from two brothers involved in multiple efforts to bring Kucinich and Assad together since 2007. [HuffPo]

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Matt Bevin Is Gutting Public Education

Matt Bevin and former House Speaker Jeff Hoover scrapped Friday as the House voted to override Bevin’s veto of the state tax bill, with Hoover knocking Bevin’s attempted education budget cuts and Bevin hitting Hoover for a sex harassment scandal. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s sudden decision not to impose tough new sanctions on Russia left many lawmakers dumbfounded this week and led some to question whether Trump had seriously undermined Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who had announced the sanctions just a day prior. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s statement on the effect of teacher protests and rallies on the state’s children is prompting outrage among state officials — including members of his own party. [C-J/AKN]

A major donor with close ties to the White House resigned on Friday as deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee after the revelation that he had agreed to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who became pregnant during an affair. [NY Times]

Attorneys for Matt Bevin filed a motion Tuesday in Franklin Circuit Court seeking to disqualify Attorney General Andy Beshear in a suit filed by Beshear challenging the constitutionality of a recently passed law which makes changes to Kentucky’s public pension systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

Demoralized by rounds of job cuts, journalists at San Jose’s Mercury News and East Bay Times in Oakland, Calif., took their case to the public last month. At a rally in Oakland, they handed out a fact sheet detailing the “pillaging” of their papers, accompanied by a cartoon of a business executive trying to milk an emaciated cow. [WaPo]

Due to an ongoing outbreak of Hepatitis A, the Department for Public Health (DPH) within the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), is recommending vaccination for everyone residing in Boyd, Greenup and Carter Counties. [Ashland Independent]

Don Blankenship… hahahahahahahahahahaha,. Just move all beverages away from your computer before clicking the clicky [ThinkProgress]

State lawmakers put the finishing touches on the General Assembly’s 2018 session by overriding gubernatorial vetoes, most notably on the state budget and tax reform legislation, and passing bills right up to the session’s final hours. [The Morehead News]

Barbara Bush, former US first lady and literacy campaigner, has died aged 92. [BBC]

Pruitt was terrible and needed to go but his replacement is going to be a nightmare. It didn’t take long for the newly configured state Board of Education, whose members have now all been appointed by Gov. Matt Bevin, to change directions. [More Ronnie Ellis]

The parents of a 17-year-old student who was shot five times as he shielded others during the Parkland, Florida high school mass shooting on Tuesday filed the first lawsuit on behalf of a victim in the massacre that killed 17 people and wounded 17 others. [Reuters]

Lexington is still arguing about dogs. Because there’s obviously nothing more important going on. [H-L]

This guy did exactly what Steve Henry did! The Missouri attorney general’s office has uncovered “evidence of potential criminal acts of wrongdoing” by Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday. At issue, Hawley said, is an electronic donor list Greitens obtained from a Missouri nonprofit called The Mission Continues. [HuffPo]

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These New Kentucky Republicans Are Sneaky, Dishonest, Conniving, Awful People And They’ve Proved It

How do we make schools safe in this age of anxiety and easy access to weapons of mass murder? That’s a question that sent more than a million people into America’s streets last Saturday. [Tom Eblen]

Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin is the latest to depart Donald Trump’s turbulent White House. [HuffPo]

A University of Louisville trustee with a deep background in health care financing warned Thursday that the university faces an array of risks as KentuckyOne Health’s parent company looks to sell its Louisville facilities to a New York hedge fund. [C-J/AKN]

For Elliott Broidy, Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign represented an unparalleled political and business opportunity. [NY Times]

After weeks of saying that a proposal to overhaul retirement benefits for state workers was likely dead, Republican leaders of the Kentucky legislature slipped new pension language into an unrelated bill dealing with governance of wastewater sewage districts. [WKMS]

One consequence of the success of the National Rifle Association’s expansive gun-rights agenda — and its lobbying power in Congress — is that groups favoring more gun control have pared down their ambitions in recent years. [WaPo]

Richmond Utilities, a department of the City of Richmond, rightfully refused to provide the addresses where water service had been cut off after an open records request, the Kentucky Attorney General’s office has ruled. [Richmond Register]

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Saudi Arabia’s bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims. [Reuters]

The Ashland commission has taken a major step in restructuring two crucial city departments at the request of City Manager Michael Graese. [Ashland Independent]

Adult-film star Stormy Daniels has filed a court motion for Donald Trump to testify about her claim that they had a relationship. Her lawyer wants sworn testimony from Mr Trump about a “hush” agreement the actress says she signed. [BBC]

Officials with the Housing Authority of Glasgow have filed an appeal regarding a score it received during its Real Estate Assessment Center inspection, which occurred in January. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Let this serve as a reminder that wealthy bigots will always do what’s best for wealthy bigots. [ProPublica]

As the City Hall turns…. A real-life soap opera in the city where consumer products maker Procter & Gamble helped pioneer the daily dramas is in its fourth week. There’s a stalemate over the Cincinnati mayor’s effort to oust the city manager in what an NAACP official calls “a self-inflicted crisis,” one that has racial overtones in an Ohio city with a troubled past. [H-L]

Three anti-Muslim militia members, on trial for plotting to slaughter Somali refugees in southwest Kansas, have adopted a defense strategy that could’ve been culled directly from Donald Trump’s Twitter feed: suggesting that a biased FBI conspired against them in the lead-up to the 2016 election due to their political beliefs. [HuffPo]

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More Boel Bullshit Promoted By WAVE

A Kentucky attorney who fled the country to avoid going to prison before being captured is seeking to have part of a federal case against him thrown out. [H-L]

The tone of the website abortionpillreversal.com is filled with urgency. Women who have taken the first dose of the “abortion pill” — actually two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, taken over the span of several days to terminate a pregnancy — are exhorted to call right away if they regret their decision. [HuffPo]

Corrupt secrecy is the University of Louisville way and it’s not going to change any time soon. If you want to know how to stop it? Someone is going to need to do what I did with Robert Felner on a grand scale. A closed-door board of trustees meeting at the University of Louisville Sunday was held with campus police stationed on sidewalks around the University Club to turn away the public. [C-J/AKN]

A judge on Monday denied a defense motion to dismiss charges against the widow of the gunman in the 2016 massacre at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, saying that the gunman’s father’s work an FBI informant was not relevant to the case. [Reuters]

Here’s John Boel doing something stupid again. Stupid and racist. Yes, I fucking said it. Racist. Nearly every “undercover” thing the man has done has been against people of color. It’s disgusting. [WAVE3]

Older Americans who face discrimination on the job can’t rely on the courts as much as earlier generations did. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Republicans love screwing poor people and the working class. Edna Bland had just adopted a child, her father was dying and her husband was having risky heart surgery when a mortgage company tried to take her house in 2009. [Richmond Register]

A pair of letters released on Tuesday reveal that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has received foreign funds, calling into question that much further the tens of millions of dollars the NRA donated to the Donald Trump campaign — money that came from an arm of the NRA not required to reveal the identities of its donors. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky lawmakers are looking to allocate tax money to spur economic development and jobs — even while they struggle to cobble together a budget without sufficient revenues which will still fund education and the state’s badly underfunded public pension systems. [Ronnie Ellis]

Medicare officials thought they had finally figured out how to do their part to fix the troubling problem of opioids being overprescribed to the old and disabled: In 2016, a staggering one in three of 43.6 million beneficiaries of the federal health insurance program had been prescribed the painkillers. [NY Times]

The cost for Metcalfe County to offer a 401K-type of retirement package to employees of the Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Service, should the ambulance service’s board of directors choose to go that route, could range from $534,000 to $413,000. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump frequently said Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border as he sought the presidency in 2016. Now, he is privately pushing the U.S. military to fund construction of his signature project. [WaPo]

A proposed $60 million tax break aimed at creating jobs in rural Kentucky is poised to get final approval from Kentucky lawmakers, but critics contend the bill lacks one key element: proof that those cashing in the tax break actually created jobs. [H-L]

The Louisiana attorney general said Tuesday he won’t charge two white police officers in the fatal shooting of a black man that sparked heated protests across the country. [HuffPo]

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HAHA, No, He Can’t Beat McConnell

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How much more stupid and racist can Matt Bevin get? Don’t answer that question. I know it will get way worse. [H-L]

As hundreds of thousands of protesters prepared to gather in Washington and other cities across the U.S. on Saturday to demand meaningful gun reform, the National Rifle Association took to social media to mock the “March For Our Lives” event and the young gun violence survivors who spearheaded it. [HuffPo]

If you were following me on Twitter, you would have known about this memo when I obtained it and shared it with the public long before A Kentucky Newspaper claimed to have done so. And you’d know about the other Republican Party of Kentucky documents that have been leaked to me – not as a result of hacks but because people inside have had enough. [C-J/AKN]

A former Cambridge Analytica staffer says foreigners were embedded in U.S. campaigns and making decisions, despite a legal memo that advised otherwise. [NBC News]

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. However, soon, community members will see smoke rising from the Berea College forest, but there’s no need for alarm as its likely a prescribed burn, meant to help and not harm, according to Berea College Forester Clint Patterson. [Richmond Register]

Lie-detector tests supported the accounts of Ms. Clifford, her ex-husband Michael Mosny and Mr. Deuschle, according to reports reviewed by the Journal. After the magazine called Mr. Trump’s representatives for comment, Mr. Cohen threatened to sue, say people familiar with the matter. Mr. Cohen, 51, didn’t respond to requests for comment. [WSJ]

Health care premium costs are rising for all Ashland city workers except union fire department employees. [Ashland Independent]

The youth-led U.S. gun control movement that flexed its public muscle with huge weekend rallies has already nudged Congress to enact minor firearms changes, but must remain active if it hopes to win more meaningful regulations, lawmakers said on Sunday. [Reuters]

When Frankfort lawmakers were confident they could pass a major reform of the state’s public pension systems, they decided to help local governments by allowing them to phase in higher pension contributions over a period of years. [Ronnie Ellis]

No, Matt Jones won’t beat Mitch McConnell. He won’t even be able to win a Democratic Primary. If Adam Edelen is leading people to believe that’s possible? He’s lying to you. I know what’s in the Republicans’ research book. And it’ll choke the Democratic Party’s slate. The KDP needs to get over this Jonathan Miller-Adam Edelen wing of bullshit and move on with people who aren’t good old boys. It’s tired and ought to be drowned in a toilet bowl and flushed. [Politico]

The Kentucky House of Representatives Thursday gave final passage to a bill that will create two new Family Court judges in circuits serving Pulaski, Lincoln and Rockcastle counties and Kenton and Boone counties. [Ronnie Ellis]

A cooperating witness in the special counsel investigation worked for more than a year to turn a top Trump fund-raiser into an instrument of influence at the White House for the rulers of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, according to interviews and previously undisclosed documents. Hundreds of pages of correspondence between the two men reveal an active effort to cultivate Donald Trump on behalf of the two oil-rich Arab monarchies, both close American allies. [NY Times]

Republicans have complete control of negotiations to finalize Kentucky’s next two-year state budget for the first time in modern history, but that doesn’t necessarily mean smooth sailing for the budget talks that started Friday morning. [H-L]

Puke alert. Karen McDougal, the former Playboy model who says she had an affair with Donald Trump in 2006, described an extremely awkward compliment she received from the future president. Trump compared her to one of his daughters, Ivanka Trump. [HuffPo]

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