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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Amy McGrath Is A Terrible Hypocrite

Prosecutors and congressional investigators have obtained text messages and emails showing that Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was working on a deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow far later than Cohen has previously acknowledged. The communications show that, as late as May 2016, around the time Trump was clinching the Republican nomination, Cohen was considering a trip to Russia to meet about the project with high-level government officials, business leaders and bankers. [Ruh Ro]

Amy McGrath is a carpetbagger and a hypocrite. She has the audacity to attack others for Democratic Party ties while being 14 miles up Jonathan Miller’s slimy you-know-what. What a hack. Made worse by her decision to tip-toe around homophobia. It’s a shame she’ll likely win and ultimately lose to Andy Barr. [H-L]

The U.S. delegation in Jerusalem on Monday to celebrate the opening of the new American embassy includes an evangelical Christian pastor who once said Jews “can’t be saved.” [HuffPo]

These jackasses need to be run out of the Commonwealth. The state should take over contract negotiations with the Jefferson County teachers union because previous deals have led to “implicit racial discrimination” in the public school system, a former district official says. [C-J/AKN]

The Trump administration has rolled back protections for transgender prison inmates introduced under former President Barack Obama after some prisoners challenged the policies in court. [Reuters]

Former Madison County deputy jailer Billy E. Bales (no image available), 32, of Berea, has been arrested and served a warrant for first offense third-degree controlled substance trafficking and first-degree official misconduct. [Richmond Register]

He was a small man, one interrogator recalled, and so thin that he would slip in his restraints when the masked CIA guards tipped the waterboard upward to let him breathe. [ProPublica]

Area food pantries and non-profits say they are noticing a striking increase in demand for food for the poor in the area. [Ashland Independent]

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt gave a speech on Tuesday to a mining industry group whose member companies are regulated by his agency. Pruitt’s appearance at the event was closed to the public and the press. [ThinkProgress]

The economic impact of tourism in Rowan County grew to more than $72 million in 2017. [The Morehead News]

The first stage of a multibillion-dollar military-VA digital health program championed by Jared Kushner has been riddled with problems so severe they could have led to patient deaths. [Politico]

Ugh, Julian Carroll is super-gross – an alleged (he was caught on tape!) sexual predator who needs to go. Kentucky may have not been prepared for the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Monday that struck down a prohibition on state sports gambling, but it didn’t take long for a couple of legislators to react. [Ronnie Ellis]

One of the largest contributions to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee in 2016 appears to have been orchestrated by a set of powerful conservative legal activists who have since been put in the driver’s seat of the administration’s push to select and nominate federal judges. [McClatchy]

A judge has ruled that the Kentucky House of Representatives violated the state’s Open Meetings Act with a closed-door conference in August where lawmakers from both parties huddled to discuss their plans to deal with the state’s pension crisis. [John Cheves]

Just in case you’re wondering why the far-right end timers are going bananas lately… [HuffPo]

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Who’ll Win? Carpetbagger Or Rich Guy?

***Care about the future of Kentucky? Help us cover FOIA and open records request fees relating to Matt Bevin and Jamie Comer.*** [CLICK HERE]

Ugh, Lexington is going to elect a carpetbagger or an out-of-touch rich guy instead of Reggie. [H-L]

Sounds like Kentucky, doesn’t it? Michigan Republicans are pushing a new, Donald Trump-inspired bill that would require Medicaid recipients in the state’s mostly black cities to work to keep their health benefits, but exempt some of the state’s rural white residents from the same requirement. [HuffPo]

Wayne Lewis, like Matt Bevin, is a con artist. The Kentucky Department of Education won’t tell you that the original plan was for the state to offer assistance to Jefferson County Public Schools rather than take it over and strip the elected school board of power. [C-J/AKN]

A robotic geologist armed with a hammer and quake monitor rocketed toward Mars on Saturday, aiming to land on the red planet and explore its mysterious insides. [AP]

Two weeks after Madison County Attorney Jud Patterson announced plans to start a new home incarceration program to help decrease the jail population, the first step in a possible expansion of the habitually overcrowded facility was taken by magistrates. [Richmond Register]

Matt Wender’s vision for Fayette County begins with the New River Gorge. Whitewater rafters, hikers and mountain bikers congregate there every summer. Craft beer and artisan pizza are helping his home emerge as an outdoor tourism hub. [ProPublica]

A Rowan County resident has filed a motion to challenge “the good faith of a candidate” running in the Primary Election on Tuesday, May 22. The “good faith” motion states King challenges Kim Barker-Tabor, current Rowan County Circuit Court Clerk and running for the seat later this month, of her candidacy for election in the primary, more specifically the date of her citizenship and residency in Rowan County. [The Morehead News]

One of the nation’s largest anti-LGBTQ organizations claims that it’s been treated unfairly because of its homophobic, transphobic, and other derogatory positions. [ThinkProgress]

Barren and 38 other Kentucky counties will receive money to be used for economic development because of Kentucky House Bill 114, which Matt Bevin signed into law in April. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The jobless rate looks like old times but the economy doesn’t. The last time the unemployment rate fell below the 4 percent threshold was in 2000, during a period of frenetic activity remembered as the dot-com boom. [NY Times]

The Fairview Board of Education on Friday chose a new superintendent following two marathon days of interviews. [Ashland Independent]

The abrupt ouster and reinstatement of the U.S. House chaplain are exposing tensions among House Republicans about the role of a vocal Jesuit Catholic priest in Congress in the era of Pope Francis. [WaPo]

A woman who said she gave birth in a jail cell without medical attention has filed a federal lawsuit against staffers with the Franklin County Regional Jail. [H-L]

A new “faith-based” adoption law signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday is raising red flags for LGBTQ groups. [HuffPo]

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Embarrassing: Bevin’s Loony Projection

Somebody is projecting and his name is Matt Bevin. Matt Bevin went after a Kentucky judge Tuesday, the day after that judge ruled against Bevin’s procedural motion in a lawsuit over Kentucky’s new pension law. [H-L]

An interim memorial for the 49 people killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub attack opened to the public Tuesday in Orlando, Florida. [HuffPo]

Battling brain cancer at his family ranch in Arizona, 81-year-old Sen. John McCain has been sharing his hopes for the future of the country and reflections on his political life with friends who visit. For former Vice President Joe Biden, McCain’s message was a simple one: don’t “walk away” from politics, Biden told The New York Times, describing his conversation with the Arizona Republican. [CBS News]

While Louisville frantically tries to rescue residents from heroin, fentanyl and pain pills, another drug is creeping back to prominence. Crystal meth. [C-J/AKN]

When former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. traveled to Senator John McCain’s Arizona ranch last Sunday to spend a few hours with his ailing friend, the two reminisced about the “crazy senators” they had served with, the overseas trips they took together for decades and the friendship Mr. McCain forged with Mr. Biden’s two sons. But the conversation on the sun-splashed deck off Mr. McCain’s bedroom was not all nostalgia. [NY Times]

Kentucky is among the many states considered by the National Safety Council to be “lagging” in handling the opioid crisis. [Richmond Register]

The Drug Enforcement Administration said Friday that it had immediately suspended opioid sales by a wholesale distributor, accusing a Louisiana company of failing to report unusually large shipments of narcotics to independent drugstores “with questionable need for the drugs.” [WaPo]

The Greenup County Board of Education took the first formal step toward enacting a utility tax Monday and made plans for a public hearing on the levy. [Ashland Independent]

The US Navy has said it will re-establish its Second Fleet, as Russia becomes more assertive. [BBC]

A budget totaling slightly more than $1.26 million was approved Monday by the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler, who could take command at EPA if Pruitt leaves, is “like Mike Pence is to Trump,“ says one person who has worked with him. [Politico]

State lawmakers from Louisville agree that the city’s public school system needs to improve, but disagree along party lines over whether the state should intervene in the management of the district. [WFPL]

The Department of Homeland Security ended temporary deportation protection for 57,000 Honduran immigrants on Friday, forcing them to either find another legal way to stay in the country or pack up their lives and leave. [ThinkProgress]

Montgomery County’s about to pay out another settlement.. A middle school chorus teacher who lost his job after disclosing that he is bisexual has filed a discrimination suit in federal court against the Montgomery County Board of Education. [H-L]

If you think this is bad, you’ll be horrified when you find out that organizations like PETA and the HSUS push massive euthanasia programs. A U.S. Department of Agriculture laboratory is under fire after an investigation revealed it has been breeding kittens for research purposes and then killing them when they’re no longer needed. [HuffPo]

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The Republican Party of Kentucky’s Assault On Education Hits Raceland

Republican Senate candidate Don Blankenship stepped up his unconventional attacks on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday with a new ad that accuses him of creating “millions of jobs for China people.” [H-L]

Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal. People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal. [The Guardian]

Louisville prosecutors want probation revoked for the leader of a white nationalist group who repeatedly pushed a woman at a Donald Trump campaign rally in Louisville in 2016. [C-J/AKN]

Surprise! Republicans are still massive homophobes. The Kansas Legislature on Friday approved a bill that allows faith-based adoption agencies to turn away gay and lesbian couples based on religious beliefs, and the state’s governor said he would sign it. [Reuters]

The Attorney General issued an opinion Thursday stating the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents violated the Open Meetings Act in discussing multiple potential layoffs in a session closed to the public. [Richmond Register]

Jared Kushner’s ethics disclosure filing misstated the financials on two Brooklyn loans, the latest in a long series of errors and omissions on the form. [ProPublica]

The board of directors for Barren County’s special ambulance service taxing district has decided it will not pay – at least for April – the typical portion Barren-Metcalfe County Emergency Medical Services bills it for its deficit. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Donald Trump knew about a six-figure payment that Michael D. Cohen, his personal lawyer, made to a pornographic film actress several months before he denied any knowledge of it to reporters aboard Air Force One in April, according to two people familiar with the arrangement. [NY Times]

The Henderson School Board unanimously voted a century ago to ban the teaching of German in city schools, which was just the tip of the spear in the community’s case of anti-German hysteria at the time. [Frank Boyett]

A prominent Southern Baptist leader whose comments about spousal abuse set off a firestorm last week said in an interview Friday that he couldn’t “apologize for what I didn’t do wrong.” [WaPo]

The state budget crunch and changes in reciprocal enrollment agreements have taken their toll in Raceland-Worthington schools, where a number of staffers will be laid off at the end of the school year. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump harkened back to the racist attack he made on Mexican immigrants on the first day of his campaign in the summer of 2015 during a speech at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention Friday. [ThinkProgress]

Becky Mullins’ heart broke two decades ago when the 2- and 3-year-old sisters for whom she cared as a foster mother were ordered back to their biological parents, where they had been abused until the state of Kentucky removed them. [John Cheves]

There were reasons to suspect the serial murderer and rapist known as the “Golden State Killer” worked as a cop. He knew to conceal his identity, wearing ski masks and gloves, ordering his victims not to look at him, disguising his voice in a whisper. [HuffPo]

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Reggie Thomas Is Absolutely Correct

Reggie Thomas is absolutely right. Amy McGrath is a carpetbagger and Jim Gray has been a self-hater for so long that he doesn’t have the guts to do or say anything of substance. Look who they both have hired to run their campaigns. Just the worst of Kentucky politics. [H-L]

Donald Trump’s address to the National Rifle Association convention on Friday drew fierce criticism from a survivor of February’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin appears to have sold considerable real estate holdings in 2017, according to the annual personal financial disclosure statement he filed late Monday. [C-J/AKN]

The Justice Department deleted language about press freedom and racial gerrymandering from its internal manual. [BuzzFart]

As the opioid epidemic rages across Appalachia, one grim consequence has played out in Kentucky’s medical examiner’s office: A staggering increase in autopsy requests. [Richmond Register]

The uninsured rate among working-age people — that is, those who are between 19 and 64 — is at 15.5 percent, up from 12.7 percent in 2016, meaning an estimated 4 million people lost coverage. Rates were up significantly compared with 2016 among adults with lower incomes — those living in households earning less than 250 percent of poverty (about $30,000 for an individual. [Commonwealth Fund]

Court proceedings in a case against Boyd Jailer Joe Burchett accusing him of malfeasance continued Friday morning. [Ashland Independent]

On July 15, 2016, General Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Adviser who is now cooperating with Special Counsel Mueller, sent an email predicting “a number of things…will happen…via cyber operations…by both hacktivists [and] nation-states.” A week later, Wikileaks began releasing hacked emails from the DNC. [ThinkProgress]

Three candidates for Rowan County Clerk participated in the Primary Candidate Forum held last Tuesday at the Morehead Conference Center. [The Morehead News]

Imagine if women could murder straight men when they hit on them or flirt and be protected by law. You can kill a gay person in all but two states and claim gay panic and get away with it. This guy did. [WaPo]

More than a dozen candidates showed up for the Barren River Rod & Gun Club’s second forum Thursday, this one highlighting different races than the one last month. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the United States, Paul J. Manafort is facing prosecution on charges of money laundering and financial fraud stemming from his decade of work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. But in Ukraine, where officials are wary of offending Donald Trump, not so much. There, four meandering cases that involve Mr. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, have been effectively frozen by Ukraine’s chief prosecutor. [NY Times]

Republicans in heavily Republican districts don’t decide to drop out of their re-election bid because they think politics are too vicious. Pro-tip: There’s a research book floating around out there. [H-L]

Donald Trump has postponed the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, the European Union and Mexico until June 1, and has reached agreements for permanent exemptions for Argentina, Australia and Brazil, the White House said on Monday. [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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