Accusing his opponent of trading a Metro government department for a political endorsement, Republican Hal Heiner has called on Democrat Greg Fischer to release all documents that were drafted with former mayoral candidate Jackie Green, an independent who withdrew after being promised “significant input” in selecting a cabinet-level office.
Last Friday, Green stunned political observers when he dropped out and endorsed Fischer. reported that members of Fischer’s campaign were trying to persuade the bicycle advocate to get out. Earlier that day, LEO Weekly reported that Green said he wasn’t leaving the campaign, but a few hours later it was announced that he had dropped out and would be consulting with Fischer about the Office of Sustainability, a new department that would report directly to the mayor and work to make Louisville a greener city.
“On Friday my opponent sent a clear message to the community about how he plans to run the mayor’s office,” Heiner said in a press release. “Negotiating the makeup of governmental departments behind closed doors in an attempt to secure an endorsement is the same old politics that has kept Louisville behind for so long. I’ve spent 7 years on the Metro Council fighting for open government and was able to crack open the door on transparency with the passage of LouisvilleCheckBook.com. As mayor I will continue to fight for the taxpayers and let the sun shine in … We should never forget government exists to serve the people, not the self interest of a political campaign”
The Heiner campaign highlights the e-mail conversations that took place between Green and the Fischer campaign, which indicates that the environmental activist had entered into written negotiations about turning over authority to the new office in exchange for his political support.
For months, the bicycle advocate had been trying to get the Democratic nominee to adopt key provisions from his platform. Specifically, Green wanted Fischer to put public transportation ahead of the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, pledge to put funding for existing neighborhoods over any new development projects and give specific powers to a new environmental department.
Last week, Green met with members of the Fischer campaign and in an e-mail sent to LEO, he outlined a discussion that took place with Fischer and his campaign staff. According to the bicycle advocate, Fischer’s team was drafting a document for him to drop out of the race and endorse Fischer.
“The discussion is about the Jackie Green camp exacting commitments from the mayoral opponents and then dropping out of the race, endorsing a cooperative mayoral candidate,” Green writes. “As of this moment, the drafts forwarded have not met the requirements.”
In a telephone interview with LEO Weekly, Green said that he told the Fischer campaign that either he or someone from his campaign should either run or select who operates the new office. Those reports have been verified by other news outlets.
From WHAS 11:
Green told WHAS11 that he wants assurances that Fischer’s Office of Sustainability would have real authority and Green wants to choose who Fischer hires to head that department, possibly Green himself.
The Heiner campaign points out that such agreements are against state law, which says that candidates are prohibited from making promises or contracts in consideration for support. According to the statuette, any person who knowingly violates those provisions could be guilty of a Class D felony.
“There apparently was some promise made that I think there’s a very significant question there — was Kentucky law broken,” says Heiner.
Responding to Heiner’s press conference, the Fischer campaign says no laws were broken because “no deal” was made with Green, but neither the independent or the Democrat are willing to share the e-mails publicly.
From The Courier-Journal:
“The only thing we told Jackie is that he would have input on that office,” Poynter said. “There will be many people who have input in that office.”
But the campaign refused to release the e-mails in question to The Courier-Journal. When asked why they would not release the written communications, particularly when a major theme of their campaign is government transparency, Poynter said: “That’s all I’m going to say on that. Thanks.”
When asked if he would give the newspaper the e-mails, Green said: “No, no, no.”