Just some headlines for your Friday

We’re satisfied with all the funny stuff in the news this week so we’ll spare you the commentary today.

Fletcher still trails Beshear in polls and fundraising [Daily Times]

Massaging the Numbers [C-J]

Fletcher, Beshear head to Paducah for debate [H-L]

Business First offers a misleading story: Kentucky’s tax climate for biz ranks 36th nationwide [Business First]

McConnell Staffer Linked to Criticism of 12-year-old [Hebert]

Taking on the Family Foundation’s craziness: Domestic Partners [C-J]

More Republicans Outraged by Fletcherism [StraightNFlush]

Breaking: McConnell Staffer Responsible for SCHIP Smear Campaign

From Think Progress:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that there was mounting evidence that a staffer for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) may have been involved in the right-wing campaign to smear Graeme Frost and his family.

ABC News reported earlier in the week that an e-mail sent to reporters by “a Senate Republican leadership aide” in McConnell’s office suggested that “GOP aides were complicit in spreading disparaging information about the Frosts.” A McConnell spokesman refused to deny the office’s involvement in the affair.

ThinkProgress has obtained an email that congressional sources tell us was sent to reporters by Sen. McConnell’s communications director Don Stewart.

What the hell is this? The most powerful senator in the United States has his communications director rely on blogs for information used to falsely attack children? When did the private lives of non-officials become fair game in political smear stunts? Do we really want to go there? Because we will if we must.

Mr. Stewart must resign and McConnell needs to apologize. Now.

Where’s the mainstream media on this?

Click here for the rest of the report.

Fletcher/RGA Illegal Coordination

To follow up on a story about Ernie Fletcher and alleged illegal coordination with the Republican Governors Association yesterday– you have got to check out this story in today’s New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Louisiana caught on to the RGA’s illegal coordination with Ernie Fletcher and they’re calling gubernatorial candidate Bobby Jindal out for it. Apparently, Jindal’s RGA-sponsored ads are just like Ernie Fletcher’s non-RGA ads– right down to the ‘I *Heart* UK’ artwork on the classroom wall.

The RGA is spinning this one:

Chris Schrimpf, a spokesman for the governor’s association, explained that the group sometimes uses “stock footage” in its commercials to save money on production costs. That would explain why the video looks strikingly similar to an education-themed ad that ran this spring on behalf of Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Stock footage? Please, tell us, what big name production companies use stock footage as major as this? None. No one does it. Especially not Fred Davis. Especially not something so clearly produced for Ernie Fletcher.

Casino Advocate a Major Fletcher Supporter

Hypocrisy in the Fletcher campaign? What? Perhaps our dear Preacher/Doctor/Governor needs a refresher. Recall the commercials with which Ernie flooded the airwaves. Casinos bad, church good! Remember? Great.

Who has contributed to and helped raise more than $100,000 for Ernie Fletcher? None other than Northern Kentucky developer William P. Butler, a man who has for years vigorously fought to build a land-based casino in Covington. In fact, the Herald-Leader described Bill Butler (along with Jerry Carroll) as one of Kentucky’s most pro-casino businessmen.

“Two of Kentucky’s most outspoken advocates of full-scale casino gambling have lined up behind Republican Ernie Fletcher in this fall’s race for governor.”

-Lexington Herald-Leader, “Key Casino Advocates Back Fletcher,” 10/24/2003

Interesting, right?

Some facts:

  • Butler served as co-chair of Fletcher’s Northern Kentucky fundraising in 2003
  • Butler contributed $15,000 to Fletcher’s inaugural committee in 2003
  • Butler gave $1,000 to Fletcher’s current reelection campaign in December 2006
  • Fletcher raised at least $103,500 during a 2007 fundraiser hosted by Butler
  • Executives and employees of Butler’s company Corporex contributed $7,500 to Fletcher

It gets better:

William Butler was one of only three businessmen to whom Fletcher awarded the 2005 Governor’s Economic Development Leadership award during the Tenth Annual Governor’s Economic Development Leadership Awards Dinner.

Just a bit of the never-ending hypocrisy surrounding Ernie Fletcher and casino gaming. Feel free to search for yourself at the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance website. Use the contributor search terms “William P. Butler,” “Bill Butler,” and “Corporex” in the employee search.

Larry Forgy: Ready for the Loony Bin

That’s right. Judge William Graham has (hands down) the best sound bite of the entire gubernatorial race and it’s about Loony Larry Forgy, the man behind the curtain. “I’m starting to agree with some of my friends. Larry has just come completely unhinged and maybe he’s ready for the loony bin.” Check it out in the story below.

Mark Hebert did an excellent job reporting the facts of the Kentucky Central debacle last night. Will people try to demonize WHAS as they have Ryan Alessi? I mean, the station did use the headline of “Release of Secret Report Could Impact Campaign” along with tons of ominous language throughout the story like: “A political bombshell possibly rocking the Kentucky governor’s race” and “It does raise serious questions about the actions of his law firm and will likely put the Beshear campaign on its heels.” Come on, folks. It’s not like this is harming the Beshear candidacy in the least. Let’s give it a rest and watch as Fletcher’s ship continues to take on water.

Would have been nice if Forgy had been questioned about his tenure at Frost & Jacobs and the current hype he’s caused over the Kentucky Central report. Instead, Forgy made a fool of himself trashing Steve Beshear. And to Forgy: Steve Beshear is “gut shot,” Larry? Leaves us wondering if you’ve been smoking up with Gatewood lately.

To follow up on a post from earlier: reporter after reporter have contacted Page One to inform us that Forgy has been trumpeting this issue for weeks, making phone calls, begging people to listen to him make this a bigger deal than it is. So we have some evidence that he’s attempted to pull some strings.

Questions Surrounding Bank of Louisville? (It Stinks)

From the Herald-Leader:

June 14, 1993 — The Bank of Louisville sold the $15.5 million worth of securities for $6 million. Vance prepared the documents to arrange the complicated sale.

Feb. 28, 2002 — Under new ownership, the Bank of Louisville paid $27 million to settle the lawsuit brought by Kentucky Central to recoup the money lost in the securities sale.

Unless something illegal occurred, why would the Bank of Louisville have to pay a $27 million settlement? (That settlement includes principal, interest, legal fees and other costs related to the suit.) This is all being glossed over, left unanswered, never addressed.

The settlement, Louisvillians will remember, cleared the way for the bank’s 2002 sale to BB&T Corp. There was a lot of chatter in the media about the settlement but no one could ever get to the bottom of things.

This just doesn’t smell right. Could someone who knows more about the matter chime in?

There are also questions surrounding Rick Guillaume, former vice chairman and CEO of MidAmerica Bancorp (aka Bank of Louisville), and later president of BB&T’s Kentucky operations. Guillaume is a current and long-time Fletcher donor (though he’s supported Democrats like Jonathan Miller in the past) who was a key player during the $27 million settlement days.

From the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance:

Employer : BB & T BANK
Occupation : PRESIDENT
$500.00 on 01/28/2003

Employer : BB & T BANK
Occupation : PRESIDENT
$1,000.00 on 06/02/2003

Employer : NA
Occupation : RETIRED
$900.00 on 04/07/2007

What did/does Guillaume know about all this? Or are we grasping at straws here?