Digging Into Potentially Corrupt Campaign Cash

Go read this story from Wolfson.

Some highlights:

The U.S. attorney in New York has called Louisville businessman W. Anthony Huff a “vortex of fraud.”

Witnesses have testified that he is a “financial terrorist” and a “puppet maker,” while an attorney for Louisville investors said in a lawsuit that he is an “unmitigated scoundrel.”

A federal grand jury in New York has charged Huff with bribing officers of a now-defunct bank, plundering an insurance company, and looting an employment services firm of $58 million, allegedly spending some of it on himself and his family for vacations, designer jewelry and luxury cars.

Now Huff, 52, who also has been slapped with federal civil fraud judgments and interest totaling $32 million in Florida and Washington State, has issues closer to home:

The Louisville Metro Arson Squad is investigating whether a fire in March that destroyed the $924,670 home he shared with his wife in Eastwood was set, according to chief investigator Maj. Henry Ott.


Anthony Huff is awaiting trial on 13-count indictment returned in 2012 in New York that accuses him bank bribery, bank fraud, insurance fraud, theft and tax evasion … took tens of millions of dollars from clients, businesses and banks — as well as $53 million allegedly due the Internal Revenue Service.


in exchange for allowing him to run up $9 million in overdrafts and other favors, paid them paid them $400,000 in bribes and flew them aboard his corporate jet to the Super Bowl and the Masters.


Kentucky revoked Huff’s insurance license for theft of a $113,000 insurance premium. And in 2003, he pleaded guilty in federal court in Louisville to mail fraud for taking insurance premium financing he obtained for members of the trucking association and spending it on himself and his family.


Also in 2010, a federal court jury in Washington state returned a $19.3 million verdict against Huff, his wife and Certified’s CEO


That, in part, was what got Huff charged in the pending indictment in New York that accuses him and co-defendants of executing interwoven schemes that defrauded others of $100 million.

Really, you need to read the entire thing.

Unreal, isn’t it? His ties to Steve Pence got us interested in his campaign finance history. So we took a few minutes to check out the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance and the Federal Election Commission to see who he’s been tied to.

This list is in no way comprehensive and appears to be just scratching the surface. All of the contributions were made with the following names:

  • Wilbur Anthony Huff
  • W. Anthony Huff
  • Tony Huff
  • A. Huff
  • T. Huff
  • W. Huff



  • $500.00 on 07/15/1998 — PENCE, STEPHEN for COUNTY ATTORNEY – JEFFERSON


  • $1,000.00 on 04/09/2007 — FLETCHER, ERNIE for SLATE – STATEWIDE


  • $1,000.00 on 09/27/2010 — BESHEAR, STEVEN for SLATE – STATEWIDE


  • $1,000.00 on 02/15/2011 — WILLIAMS, DAVID for SLATE – STATEWIDE


  • $2,000 on 03/07/2007 — MCCONNELL MAJORITY COMMITTEE; THE


  • $2,000 on 07/16/2004 — BUSH, GEORGE W VIA BUSH-CHENEY ’04 (PRIMARY) INC


  • $4,000 on 07/09/2008 — MCCAIN VICTORY KENTUCKY
  • $2,000 on 07/09/2008 — MCCAIN, JOHN S. VIA JOHN MCCAIN 2008 INC.


  • $2,500 on 12/09/2005
  • $1,000 on 02/27/2006
  • $5,000 on 05/31/2006
  • $2,000 on 08/04/2008


  • $1,000.00 on 07/28/2004 — GIBSON, CARROLL for STATE SENATOR – 5TH DISTRICT
  • $1,000.00 on 08/17/2006 — CLEMONS, RICK for SHERIFF – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 08/21/2006 — DENNISON, DARWIN for JAILER – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 06/30/2010 — DENNISON, DARWIN for JAILER – GRAYSON
  • $1,000.00 on 08/23/2006 — LOGSDON, GARY for COUNTY JUDGE EXECUTIVE – GRAYSON

We didn’t dig in to any contributions made by his spouse or family members but it’s an interesting look at those who benefited from his alleged crimes.

Kentucky politics sure makes for strange bedfellows.

Rand Paul Tried To Ruin C-SPAN With His Crazy

Kentucky voters favor raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour by a two-to-one margin, spelling potential trouble for Republicans this November. [H-L]

Republicans are still finding ways to stall judicial nominees despite filibuster reform. [HuffPo]

After one state-wide race, two years as secretary of state and seven months of being in the most-watched U.S. Senate race in the country, the latest Bluegrass Poll makes one thing abundantly clear: Nobody knows who Alison Lundergan Grimes is. [C-J/AKN]

Scientists have discovered the earliest evidence of human footprints outside of Africa, on the Norfolk Coast in the East of England. The footprints are more than 800,000 years old and were found on the shores of Happisburgh. [BBC]

An area judicial candidate has filed a lawsuit to assert his right to run for the office he is seeking. Steve Hurt, who is challenging David L. Williams to be judge for the 40th Circuit, 1st Division, filed the suit Monday in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, pointing out that a law enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly last year would make him ineligible, but he believes the rule violates his Kentucky and U.S. constitutional rights. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When historians one day sit down to solve the Great American Pension Heist, they will likely focus much of their attention on a scandal that has been unfolding in corruption-plagued Rhode Island over the past three years. [David Sirota]

Yet another reason to get your butt to Eastern Kentucky. If you are looking for a unique way to spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart, Pine Mountain State Resort Park will be offering Valentine Voyageurs hikes throughout the weekend. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

As the U.S. Postal Service continues to lose money each year, a new report suggests a way to add to its bottom line: offer banklike services, such as a check cashing card that would allow holders to make purchases and pay bills online or even take out small loans. The idea is to provide services that are now unavailable in many communities. [NPR]

If Kentucky voters directly decided the fates of two subjects on lawmakers’ agenda this legislative session, they would raise the state’s minimum wage and institute a statewide smoking ban in bars and restaurants. [WKYT]

A federal consumer watchdog is taking aim at discriminatory lending practices that target older Americans for risky mortgages and home improvement projects. [The Hill]

A utility wire that a helicopter clipped before crashing in Breathitt County last July was unmarked and not shown on a navigation chart, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. [H-L]

A new Department of Justice memo will instruct federal government lawyers to give same-sex marriages “full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law,” Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce during a speech on Saturday. [HuffPo]

The Madison County Health Board voted Wednesday night to support a statewide smoking ban being considered by the General Assembly. [Richmond Register]

Conservatives are bringing out the torches and pitchforks for Mitch McConnell. [TPM]

Deep in a wooded area of South Central Kentucky, where deer frolic and tourists flock, a huge hole in the earth appears almost out of no where. [WDRB]

Go watch Rand Paul say all kinds of crazy things on C-SPAN’s Newsmakers. [C-SPAN]

Don’t Miss Bill Nye The Science Guy Tonight

Rand Paul’s war on the Clintons will not play so well in Kentucky. But Rand isn’t from Kentucky so he has no clue. [H-L]

The highly anticipated debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham isn’t scheduled to begin until 7 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 4. But scientists are already sounding off about the appropriateness of the debate, in which America’s beloved “Science Guy” will defend evolution–a theory universally accepted as fact among mainstream scientists–against the dogma of young-earth creationism. [HuffPo]

An area judicial candidate has filed a lawsuit to assert his right to run for the office he is seeking. Steve Hurt, who is challenging David L. Williams to be judge for the 40th Circuit, 1st Division, filed the suit Monday in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort, pointing out that a law enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly last year would make him ineligible, but he believes the rule violates his Kentucky and U.S. constitutional rights. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The Obama administration on Monday said it will soon begin hearings to resolve problems for people who enrolled in health insurance through the Obamacare website HealthCare.gov, only to encounter errors including unnecessarily high costs. [Reuters]

Grandmother Hal Rogers says the ban on congressional earmarks is bad news bears. [WHAS11]

The rate at which US women had abortions fell between 2008-11 to the lowest level since abortion was legalised in 1973, a study suggests. The Guttmacher Institute, which supports abortion rights, also reported the total number of abortions fell 13%. [BBC]

Patriot Bioenergy is apparently set to try using hemp as a transportation biofuel feedstock. [Email Blast/Press Release]

“Gig City,” as Chattanooga is sometimes called, has what city officials and analysts say was the first and fastest — and now one of the least expensive — high-speed Internet services in the United States. [NY Times]

A Kentucky man helped expose a cover-up in the rape of a teenage girl, but he could face more jail time than the two high school students convicted of the crime. [WLKY]

Nine of the 10 most religious states are clustered in the South, while the least religious ones are in New England and the West, according to new Gallup data. 22% of Kentuckians are nonreligious. [WaPo]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s administration received eight “wide ranging” responses to its request for a vendor interested in wiring homes and businesses with super-fast fiber Internet connections, said Ted Smith, chief of Louisville Metro Economic Growth & Innovation. [WDRB]

A new five-year farm bill advanced toward final passage Tuesday, after a strong bipartisan Senate vote Monday night to limit further debate and expedite action. [Politico]

Legislation pushed by House Speaker Greg Stumbo to expand a scholarship program for students in Kentucky’s struggling coal regions cleared its first hurdle in the General Assembly on Tuesday. [H-L]

The deficit is the nation’s annual budget shortfall, the difference between what the government spends in one year and what it takes in. In 2009, ’10, ’11 and ’12, it was huge. [NPR]

Everybody Is Now Really Anxious About Alison

Kateena Haynes thought her job would be about helping kids with homework, playing games and providing a positive environment as director of the Harlan County Boys and Girls Club. [H-L]

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) smacked down a segment of conservatives, calling for establishment Republicans to stand their ground. [HuffPo]

Joe Gerth is right that a roll of toilet paper became the iconic image of Alison Grimes’ flawed campaign roll-out. And her campaign folks put it there. [C-J/AKN]

The White House is nearing a decision on splitting up the eavesdropping National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, which conducts cyber warfare, a proposed reform prompted in part by revelations of NSA’s widespread snooping, individuals briefed on the matter said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

When Republican Agriculture Commissioner James Comer went to Republican U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers’ hometown to say, “The days of party bosses hand-picking candidates must end,” people noticed. [Ronnie Ellis]

Enrolling in HealthCare.gov is not easy, and it’s been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month. [NPR]

It is time to check in on Matt Bevin. Remember him? He is the multi-millionaire tea party-type Connecticut transplant who, instead of taking on liberal Louisville Democrat John Yarmuth for the House of Representatives, wants to oust Republican leader Mitch McConnell and his 90 percent lifetime American Conservative Union rating from the Senate. [BGDN]

It isn’t just words. The White House has been barring news photographers from all sorts of opportunities to ply their craft. [ProPublica]

Created by impounding a local creek in the early 1960s, Guist Creek Lake borders neighborhoods, rolling farmland and a ribbon of U.S. 60 east of Shelbyville. [WDRB]

Weatherizing homes and using more renewable energy could be part of Kentucky’s program to lower carbon-dioxide pollution, but the model the state favors also would preserve a role for coal in electricity production. [H-L]

The law establishing Obamacare was officially titled the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. And the “affordable” bit wasn’t just about subsidizing premiums. It was also supposed to be about “bending the curve” — slowing the seemingly inexorable rise in health costs. [NY Times]

The support for giving local cities and counties the option to impose a sales tax is long and lofty — Gov. Steve Beshear, Louisville and Lexington mayors Greg Fisher and Jim Gray and various state legislators, not to mention Kentucky’s Chamber of Commerce, League of Cities and the Association of Counties. [C-J/AKN]

Alison Grimes’s campaign for McConnell’s Senate seat has gotten this far for one reason: she’s not McConnell. Now she needs to say who she is and what she stands for. [The Daily Beast]

Former Dayton Independent School District superintendent William “Gary” Rye was convicted Monday of federal charges for stealing from the school district he ran for more than a decade. [Cincinnasti.com]

Former Senate President David Williams has filed candidacy papers to seek election to the judicial seat Gov. Steve Beshear appointed him to last year. [AP]

Chimps Are More Fun Than Kentucky Politics

A decision by the National Institutes of Health to begin retiring federally owned chimpanzees used for biomedical research means that some of those animals might come to the Primate Rescue Center in Jessamine County — provided that the issue of funding can be resolved. [H-L]

Somewhere between the cart hawking hamburgers stuffed between Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a display of world championship horses, Kentucky state employees were trying to sell Obamacare at the state fair. [Politico]

This won’t end well for Louisville. The Metropolitan Sewer District on Monday approved taking on another $100 million in long-term debt to help finance its major sewer system renovation. [C-J/AKN]

Tax lobbyists are cheering the House Republican plan to jam Democrats on tax reform, viewing it as perhaps their last chance for success this year. [The Hill]

Donna Sue Hunter, 60, the Madison County Detention Center employee who was charged Saturday with promoting contraband and trafficking drugs at the jail had been employed there since 1999, according to Jailer Doug Thomas. [Richmond Register]

On a chilly Friday night in January 2003, Christina Hutto took her 5-month-old daughter to Opelousas General Hospital, a brown building squatting near the center of this small Louisiana town. [ProPublica]

He had to cover up the scandals of Greg Stumbo and David Williams. The former director of the state Legislative Research Commission says he returned to his office over the weekend and shredded paperwork. [WKYT]

The sharp decline in illegal immigration to the US during the long economic downturn has ended, researchers have estimated. [BBC]

The glory days of big hair in Kentucky. This story will make you wet yourself. [Slate]

Federal appeals judges have upheld a $250,000 fine against former Breathitt County Schools Superintendent Arch Turner. [H-L]

President Barack Obama says he quit smoking for a reason that many husbands can relate to: “I’m scared of my wife.” [Reuters]

Instead of dwelling on the past, David Goode is taking control of his future through the help of Big Sandy Community and Technical College. [Ashland Independent]

Scientists and government representatives are meeting in Stockholm this week to produce the latest high-level review of climate change. It’s thousands of pages of material, and if it’s done right, it should harbor very few surprises. [NPR]

Ft. Knox Move Not A Surprise But Politicians In Kentucky Are Feigning Surprise

Kentucky’s coal-fired power plants produce a lot of carbon dioxide, so President Barack Obama’s call Tuesday to limit such emissions from existing plants sparked sharp reaction. [H-L]

The top Medicare prescribers rake in speaking fees from drug manufacturers. Which comes as a surprise to absolutely no one. [ProPublica]

Congressman John Yarmuth on President Barack Obama’s climate change plan: “Louisville’s air quality is among the worst in the nation, and nearly 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 10 children in Kentucky are suffering from asthma, which is exacerbated by carbon pollution. And yet, there are no federal regulations in place to regulate carbon. That is why today, President Obama proposed a series of measured responses – including the first federal standards for carbon emissions – to address the devastating health, environmental, and economic consequences of climate change. This plan will not only make the air we breathe safer, it will also spur investments in clean, sustainable energy technologies that will help our businesses grow and create new jobs.” [Press Release]

The United States is one of the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to education, but with much of the money flowing to the wealthiest students, the country is losing ground to other nations from pre-school through college, according to a report released on Tuesday on educational progress around the world. [Reuters]

A finalist for the job of superintendent of Cumberland County Schools claims in a lawsuit that he lost the job after a last-minute intervention by then-Senate President David Williams. [C-J/AKN]

Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid insist that gun control legislation is not dead — they say they’re strategizing on how to bring the issue back to the Senate floor. [NPR]

Steve Beshear on brigade inactivation at Fort Knox: I am deeply disappointed by the news of the Department of Defense’s planned inactivation of the Third Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division currently located at Ft. Knox. This decision will likely remove nearly 10,000 military employees and dependents from the area, which will have a profound economic impact not only on Ft. Knox, but the surrounding region as well.” [Press Release]

The US tax agency used a “broad spectrum” of political keywords to select groups for further scrutiny, its new chief has said. Danny Werfel said he had ordered a halt to the use of such phrases in screening applications for tax-exempt status. [BBC]

Two Iraqi men sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to terrorism charges in Kentucky are getting new federal homes. [H-L]

The Supreme Court is expected to rule Wednesday in a pair of historic cases on same-sex marriage. Most court observers expect the court to rule narrowly, putting its stamp of approval on the legal recognition of same-sex marriage while leaving it mostly to the states to actually expand same-sex couples’ rights. [The Hill]

A significant increase in the number of state inmates being released early is curtailing Northern Kentucky jailers’ ability to send jail work crews into the community, which is adding costs to local governments. [Enquirer]

Mitch McConnell’s you-know-what got all twisted up when pressed on the Voting Rights Act. While 2013 America is a lot different than 1960 America, even he knows racism is still a nightmare of a problem in the bible belt. [TPM]

Of Course Democrats Are Playing Dirty In The 56th

University of Kentucky HealthCare officials said Monday they will use $30 million in cash to outfit the 8th floor of Pavilion A at UK Chandler Hospital in coming months. [H-L]

The Democratic-run U.S. Senate passed a $500 billion, five-year farm bill on Monday that expands a taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance program and rejects sweeping cuts in food stamps for the poor being pursued in the House of Representatives. [Reuters]

Joining nearly two dozen other members of Congress, Republican Thomas Massie is asking intelligence agencies to clarify their position on the Patriot Act in light of the National Security Agency obtaining millions of U.S. citizen’s phone records. [WFPL]

Uh, a British newspaper just called Matthew Barzun a “potato with hair.” Wow. Really warm reception, that. [The Guardian]

An independent political group that backed Republican David Williams’ failed bid for Kentucky governor has paid a $4,500 fine as part of an agreement to settle allegations it tried to shield the identity of its major contributor who turned out to be Williams’ father-in-law at the time. [BGDN]

In any season, Washington bristles with barriers to accomplishment: permanent partisan warfare, vast ideological differences, a system built for stalemate. But the political realities of a party leader facing a fight for re-election, as Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will in 2014, can complicate matters further. [NY Times]

It’s not a matter of if, it’s only a matter of when – and of how. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear, Republican Senate President Robert Stivers and Democratic Speaker of the House Greg Stumbo have agreed on two key principles for a looming special session on redistricting. [Ronnie Ellis]

Barzun, 42, who arrived in Stockholm in late 2009, had his term in Stockholm cut short when he was recalled to the United States in April 2011 to head up national fundraising efforts for Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. And after helping raise $700 million during Obama’s successful reelection campaign, Barzun is set to claim what is widely considered to be the top prize among diplomatic posts traditionally offered to politically appointed US ambassadors. [The Local]

Just weeks before a special state House election, an additional 114 mostly Democratic voters have been moved into the district — and the state Republican chairman is calling foul. Really? Right before a special election? That’s a dirty political stunt regardless of the political party involved. But when you have Don Blevins and Ruth Ann “I Don’t Live Where I Say I Live” Palumbo? You can bet that’s coordinated. [H-L]

The Senate voted Monday to approve its version of the farm bill, a massive spending measure that covers everything from food stamps to crop insurance and sets the nation’s farm policy for the next five years. The centerpiece of that policy is an expanded crop insurance program, designed to protect farmers from losses, that some say amounts to a highly subsidized gift to agribusiness. That debate is set to continue as the House plans to take up its version of the bill this month. [NPR]

The Bardstown Police Department, still reeling from the ambush shooting death of Officer Jason Ellis last month, has received threats that more officers will be killed. [C-J/AKN]