The Long List of Pardons

Former Governor Ernie Fletcher’s (Former. Wow.) list of pardons and commutations was quite long at 101 people. Ernest Lee’s pardon pen was warmed up in 2005, you’ll recall, when he pardoned his entire corrupt administration before most of them were indicted.

One of the recipients of Ernie’s latest pardons is a guy who hasn’t been convicted of anything– someone we’ve been highly critical of– Morgan County Republican and Judge-Executive Tim Conley. Conley was indicted on three counts of abuse of public trust about eight months ago but later saw the indictments dropped on a technicality.

Morgan County Judge-Executive Timothy Conley asked for and received a pardon from Fletcher even though indictments against him have already been dismissed.

Conley, a two-term incumbent who is the first Republican to be elected judge-executive in Morgan County in decades, was indicted in May on three counts of abuse of public trust.

The indictments were later dismissed on a technicality, but special prosecutor Brent Turner has pledged to renew the charges.

Conley used the excuse that he feared “they” would attempt to load a grand jury for a future indictment. But one really has to wonder why someone who professes innocence and has done nothing wrong would have anything to worry about. Eastern Kentuckians, in my experience, are as fair and honest as all other Kentuckians. Now that Conley doesn’t have “they” and loaded grand juries to worry about, he’s sure to get back to spending Morgan County’s money. Hopefully on more roads his family will benefit from. (And I’m serious about that– my family benefits from what his family receives– they live in the same area– and I’m not being the least bit sarcastic.)

We’ve included a scan of the first editorial and accompanying biased article to appear in Conley’s hometown paper, The Licking Valley Courier, shortly after charges were brought to light. The paper’s editor had extreme difficulty allowing the legal process to play itself out. Regardless of innocence or guilt it was a sight to behold.

All nitpicking aside, congratulations to Tim Conley. We hope he’s able to put this snafu behind him and successfully serve his county by doing the job he was elected to do. So long as he’s mindful that shady activity will bring warranted criticism. We have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Conley.

Friday Update Dept. SNOMG!!11!1!!! Kroger is Empty Edition

She’s doing it again. Former Rep. Anne Northup isn’t ruling out a future run for political office. No idea what on earth she’d run for next. Senate? Governor? Agriculture Commissioner? State house? She could follow David Williams’ lead and try to run for everything with every party. [Mark Hebert]

Resolution on the way. Maybe. Governor-elect Steve Beshear steps in with WV governor to resolve ARH nursing strike in eastern Kentucky. Something about demands and compromise. Blah blah. Make it stop already. [PolWatchers]

Bluegrass Depot snafu? What? Why be upset? It’s just a little leak OF A FRICKING NERVE AGENT. P.S. When will these newspaper sites stop sucking with all of their terrible advertising pop-behinds and weird text ads? [H-L]

Northern Kentucky seems a mess these days. Restricting political activity in Covington is the name of the game. Seems a little, um, restrictive to us. [Crowley’s Blog]

Is he serious? UK sophomore Daniel Burton, a Democrat, plans to run for Lexington’s Urban County Council open seat in District 3. Admirable, yes, but is he serious? [H-L]

Too little too late. Campaign finance fraud goes to the grand jury in Frankfort. Testimony from several individuals who gave “unlikely” campaign contributions to people like Steve Henry and Ernie Fletcher was given. Laundering campaign money, if you didn’t know, is woah illegal. [C-J]

Shameful thievery. A bronze statue of a little girl was stolen from park in Berea. And we’re left with the imagery of some meth head thinking they can pawn the statue or sell the bronze for oxy or whatever. Or maybe even put it in their front yard in the middle of Berea. [H-L]

Tuesday Update Dept: Make a Decision Edition

First: Noticed anyone back in action recycling our stories from days and days ago with no attribution? Yeah, we noticed too. The smelling salts worked! Imitation is the best form of flattery, right? Right?

Cozy wozy lobbyists. Whoda thunk it? John Y. Brown III and Hunter Bates on the same team. We talked about them joining lobbying forces ages ago but this Alessi story is quite a bit more telling. From exclusive meetings for clients with Democratic Party chairperson Jennifer Moore to future runs for office, it’s all there. Behold the power of money and the realization that it’s now necessary to spend it on Democrats. And, no, we’re not trashing anyone. We’re capitalists and heart money and ad revenue. [H-L]

Jonboy’s replacement. Ernest Lee has set the election date for Jon Draud’s replacement in the state house. Jan 8. Kenton County Republican and Democratic party officials will select the candidates to run in the election with the winner serving out the rest of the newly selected Education Commissioner’s term. [PolWatchers]

Everyone had sex with Larry Craig. Oh, and he’s a pervert. In case you didn’t know, go read all about it. All kinds of gays. All kinds of Larry soliciting everyone. When will it end? It needs to end! The wide stance is so over. Even though McConnell’s Bluegrass Committee gave Craig $10,000. It’s so over. [Idaho Statesman]

McConnell is a warmonger. Continually supportive of this clusterfuck of a war, McConnell is trying to tie uncompleted budget work to war funding. When will Democrats stand up to this mess? Why do we continually allow this crap to go down? Our country is at the very end of the dead end street and the Democrats have allowed this warmonger to build a brick wall. Oh, and Ted Kennedy is the devil or something. [AP, The Arena]

Piss or get off the pot! In case you missed it yesterday? We laid out some pros and cons and suggested any potential candidates in the U.S. Senate race against Mitch McConnel just flipping get in the race. The posturing and lack of action is getting old and it’s high time we stop holding this process hostage. Come on! [Page One]

Political Future? What? How bout the political past

Joe Biesk had a great story yesterday about Ernie Fletcher’s political future. The real meat of the story, though, is Ernie’s legacy. Rather, the events forever burned into memory that either cracked us up or horrified the world.

The “merit fiasco,” Hunter Bates inability to run for office because he wasn’t a Kentuckian, the U.S. Capitol airplane scare during Saint Ronnie’s funeral, the state health insurance disaster that nearly led to a massive strike, and his desire to bust up every union in the state with anti-union legislation. My, what an interesting legacy Ernest Lee leaves. He’ll never be forgotten.

Check it all out here.

Transportation Cabinet Screwed by Fletcher

Ernie Fletcher has effectively killed the Transportation Cabinet. The failed governor, reported by the Herald-Leader’s Ryan Alessi, emptied the cabinet’s coffers by spending more than $2 billion on road contracts in just two short years. $1.7 billion was spent in the year 2007 alone.

On top of that $2 billion? The $350 million remaining in the state’s road fund is already promised for projects ending this fiscal year. And the meager funds projected to be available for 2009 and 2010 are already spent. Surprised? Looks like Joe Prather has his work cut out for him.

Ernest Lee used the road fund as a tool for re-election. No one is surprised.

Update: Frank Simon & Illegal Robocalls

Wow. The flood of information we have received since November 5 is overwhelming. Dozens of you wrote in to complain about the disgusting and homophobic robocalls falsely claiming to be from the Fairness Campaign. Most speculate that the calls have Frank Simon’s fingerprints all over them, as they use language Simon utilized in radio ads that scared Louisville’s West End.

Mark Hebert reports (via AP) that Rep. Jimmy Higdon (R-Lebanon) proposes legislation to ban robocalls during elections. Hebert says, “I’m not sure banning the phone calls would stand up to a legal challenge but requiring the callers to identify themselves and disclose their organization would certainly be a step in the right direction.”

Well, kids, calls without disclaimers are already illegal:

While the homophobic calls attacking Steve Beshear were non-commercial, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 requires that all automated or prerecorded calls and messages comply with the following:

  1. All calls must at the beginning state the identity of the business, individual or other entity responsible for the call.
  2. At some point during or after the message the caller must provide the telephone number of the business, individual or other entity responsible for the call so you may contact them during normal business hours to be removed from their contact list.

The calls violated both of the above requirements. Click here for more information on the TCPA from the FCC.

It is also worth noting that in 2006 the TCPA was enforced against a company placing calls against Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin.

When AT&T gets their butt in gear by revealing the party responsible for the robocalls, we’ll report it so proper legal action may be taken. We’re sure the newly elected Attorney General would love to get his hands on the information.