Monday: 36 days til the ads stop

Unlikely pair? Kentucky should pay attention. The Herald-Leader delves into the business partnership of Bruce Lunsford and Ed Hart and their movie making successes. From the Sundance Film Festival to Kentucky, these guys are creating an empire. Politics aside? We should be proud. These guys smell an opportunity to change perceptions of the Bluegrass state. [H-L]

Oh man, the differences. Lee is a radical in every sense of the word and Conway is a reasonable man who actually believes in the law. Not surprising only 60 people showed up to their forum. Attorney General? What’s that? [KY Post]

Singing the praises, calling a spade a spade. Talking Points Memo notices Ernie’s latest commercial and sings the praises of Alessi for pointing out the ad’s distortions and inaccuracies. [TPM]

Controversial Micro-City Government rears its ugly head again in Lexington. This time with the sale of its property without documentation of proceeds or anything else required of non-profits. Ron Berry, founder of the organization, was convicted on 12 counts of third-degree sodomy (of participants in the organization’s youth programs) in 2000. [H-L]

Five Days of Non-Answers. CNHI started its five-day series of citizen questions with Steve Beshear and Ernie Fletcher. Looks like a worthy mix of questioners and may be worth checking out. [Daily Independent]

Still not talking about the senate? Owsley Brown II was profiled and only discussed philanthropy. No mention of senate hopes at all. But with more than $600 million in stocks alone– who’d need to raise cash? We hope he stays out of the race so he can focus his attention full-time on worthy causes around the Commonwealth. [C-J]

CATS testing scores ‘hard to explain’? Hello, understatement. Not only have we slipped into a backward mindset of teaching only toward a test, we’ve now made it impossible to understand what the heck those test results mean. Yay educational failures! [H-L]

Do they always have to do this? Appalachian Regional Healthcare is once again suffering from a massive strike of nurses. When will this hospital group learn to negotiate? Public perception matters, people. You’ll win in the court of public opinion. [H-L]

Iran So Far. This has absolutely nothing to do with Kentucky but is the funniest thing to happen in months. SNL’s Andy Samberg takes on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a funny digital short. Give it a watch and laugh your guts out. We can’t stop watching it. [SNL via YouTube]

Yeah, sometimes we read more than the C-J and H-L. Sometimes.

Exposed: Campaign Finance Shenanigans

Tom Loftus of the Courier-Journal uncovers all kinds of campaign finance law breaking. From being reimbursed by cousins to giving cash to candidates they don’t know for who knows what reason, the gubernatorial election is wrought with money laundering.

Yep, Steve Henry is involved.

Chesney contributed $1,000 to Democrat Steve Beshear, even though he said of the gubernatorial candidate, “I don’t even know the guy.”

So why donate to a candidate he doesn’t know, in a state where he doesn’t live?

“I was reimbursed,” he said, by a cousin who is a Beshear supporter.

Note: Beshear is returning that contribution.

Here’s some Henry action:

Opal Hodges of London, is listed as giving $1,000 to Fletcher and $1,000 to Henry.

But Opal Hodges said in a phone interview she did not make the contributions.

“No I didn’t,” she said. “Look, I don’t know nothing about it.”

After she told a reporter that her daughter takes care of her money, a female voice in the background said, “Hang the damn phone up. That’s enough. You’re talking to a … reporter.”

Even more Henry dirt and juicy Ernie Fletcher tidbits:

Lauren Eggers, 21, of Somerset, is listed by Henry as making a $500 contribution and by Northup as giving $1,000. She declined comment.

Her mother, Elaine Eggers, and said she wondered how her daughter could afford to give so much money to political candidates.

“I think she was doing it for other people, to be honest with you,” Elaine Eggers said. “I didn’t know where she could get a hold of that kind of money. Because she’s a waitress, part time.”

Hannah Moses, 24, a factory worker from Williamsburg who is a friend of Amber Dufour, according to her personal Internet page on MySpace, is listed by Fletcher as giving $1,000. She also declined comment.

But her father, Michael Moses, was dubious about the contribution.

“I can’t believe that. Not my kid. Not a thousand dollars. Come on, she works in a factory,” Michael Moses said. “She doesn’t know the difference between a Democrat and a Republican.”

Interesting to note that “Dufour’s father, Phillip Dufour, and Hodges’ husband, Gordon Hodges, work for Elmo Greer & Sons, one of the largest highway contractors in the state.”

What’s going on here? Does this mean people like Steve Henry and Ernie Fletcher are illegally cultivating campaign contributions? I know for a fact (personally) that Steve Henry has done it. He’s under investigation and likely to be indicted soon. But Ernie? If he’s guilty he ought to be writing checks to return to those contributors ASAP.

And about Ernie: One has to wonder if these same individuals have contributed to his legal defense fund.

How can so many people suffer from the Steve Henry Syndrome?

Candidates: If you’re not screening the people raising your funds, screening your contributors and verifying every cent you raise– you need to close up shop and walk away right now. This is serious business. And don’t act like it’s too much work because it most certainly is not.

This is shameful. Evidence that we need campaign finance reform now more than ever.

Friday News Fun

Oh, we know you love the drama. And the best drama of all is Ernie Fletcher starting a cat fight with Vicki Glass. Oh snap. Fletcher quipped at Glass for holding a recording device close to him and pushed her arm away. Glass, rightfully so, snapped back telling the man not to push her. We’re no experts here, but, uh, we’re pretty sure no man wants to mess with a woman on a mission. [C-J]

Matthew Shepard Act passed, tacked onto defense spending bill. No worries, haters! Dubya promises a veto. McConnell and Bunning both voted against the measure. They love them some gay-hatin. [AP]

Some day they’ll stop bitching and moaning about gambling. Some day they’ll focus on real issues. Right? Doesn’t look too promising now as not even Steve Beshear will take an opportunity to clear things up. [H-L, PoLWachers]

Poo hits the Lex fan. Lexington’s transportation system (LexTran) union had $49,000 stolen, mostly by its secretary and president. More are expected to be named culprits. What the heck is going on? First Louisville’s Metro Animal Services, now LexTran. [H-L]

Children first. Senate passes SCHIP/children’s health insurance bill with 67 votes– more than the majority needed to overturn a threatened veto by Dubya. McConnell and Bunning voted against it. Big shocker there. [CBS]

No sunshine here. More on Bunning’s mess of trying to cover Dubya’s incompetence up. He put a secret hold on the Presidential Records Amendment. [TP]

Hendrickson or Grayson? The Rural Democrat chimes in in the Secretary of State debate. Did anyone watch it? What about the debate for Secretary of Agriculture? [Rural Democrat]

Standing up. The Courier-Journal covered the Bristol protest. A zillion photos were snapped of folks entering and leaving the eatery but they didn’t make the C-J’s cut. The restaurant’s owner, Pete Peters, is unable to offer any semblance of an apology. Said the Bristol’s policy is to serve all fairly but, uh, policy isn’t the problem. We hope Pete finally gets it. [C-J]

Breaking: Fletcher Up Campaign Finance Crap Creek

The Kentucky Democratic Party today filed a complaint with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance against the Republican Governors Association & Ernie Fletcher.

In the complaint KDP alleges the RGA violated campaign finance law by exceeding the $1,000 limit placed on in-kind contributions by operating a website that actively pushes for the election of Fletcher and by running commercials that advocate the defeat of Steve Beshear. All while in collusion with Fletcher, of course.

While some of the other charges possibly won’t stick, Fletcher and the RGA are likely to be cited by the KREF for violating the in-kind contribution limit. Doesn’t seem too likely any of these acts could be considered independent expenditures since the violations are outlined so clearly. As Pol Watchers reports, $5,000 fines could be doled out for violations. Anything willful could be referred to the AG.

Not a great week for the Gubnuh.

News Drama Daily Briefing Dept

Oh, the drama.

Most Kentuckians approve of the job Greg Stumbo has done but a few say they wouldn’t vote for him to be dog catcher. [C-J 1, 2]

Mitch McConnell queens out, cuts Dianne Feinstein’s head off, screams “I want the guy who suppressed the black vote to run the FEC!” [SacBee]

Mitchy’s reelection a safe bet? The Hill thinks so. But they see a ton of Republicans coming out of the woodwork to challenge whether or not he’s Republican enough. [The Hill]

Not in my Kentucky home? Bowling Green woman sums up the hypocrisy of Ernie Fletcher opposing casinos in one sentence, “With the way our governor operates, it is surprising he opposes casinos because it would represent a huge opportunity for him and his cronies to feed at the trough of corruption.” [BG Daily News]

Remembering is tough. Steve Beshear finally remembers parts of what went down with Kentucky Central. Looks like everyone involved has a horrible memory. It’s time for the “secret” report to be released by the judge so we can get on with this retarded fiasco. I mean, if it was too terrible, don’t you think we’d already be reading it? [PolWatchers]

Rallying the faithful. Dan Mongiardo comes out of hiding to open Democratic Headquarters in E-town, champions the work of Hardin County politicos. He warned, surprisingly to some, not to put too much faith in polling data when he recalled his race against Jim Bunning in 2004. Speaking of polling, seems there’s a bit of a controversy brewing over the “Insider Advantage” data. [News-Enterprise, BGR]

Selling out to big coal is not enough. Jody Richards on the hunt. Legislative Research Commission Director Bobby Sherman is under investigation, thanks to House Speaker and sellout Jody Richards. Everyone and their mother says Sherman has created a hostile work environment wrought with favoritism and bitchiness. Oh, the drama of Frankfort. [Hebert]

Children’s Health or Big Money Donors?

Remember when McConnell used to support campaign finance reform? Yeah? Those days are over.

Mitch McConnell continues to oppose legislation that would help provide health coverage to 158,000 children across Kentucky.

Public Campaign Action Fund has produced a web ad pointing out that McConnell would rather put the needs of his big tobacco campaign contributors ahead of the health of children.