With the general election a week away, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office has turned over the investigation of two Louisville mayoral endorsements to state police. In a letter sent to the chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties, the attorney general’s office said the inquiry was being referred to the commonwealth’s law enforcement agency because of Conway’s conflict of interest.
From the attorney general’s office:
“Given that General Conway has contributed to the Fischer campaign and given that the Kentucky Democratic Party supports all Democratic candidates, including General Conway, in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety in this matter, we are referring both of these complaints to the Kentucky State Police for any action that it deems appropriate.”
Last Wednesday, LEO Weekly reported that independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green told his staff that Democrat Greg Fischer’s campaign “raised the issue of our team” playing a role in Metro government, while negotiating his departure from the race.
“The (Fischer campaign) also raised the issue of our team playing a role inside gov. — should Greg get lucky. ,” Green wrote his staff in an Oct. 13 e-mail.
In a letter to the attorney general, Steve Robertson, chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky called for a special prosecutor to investigate the matter, citing LEO’s coverage.
Under state law, candidates cannot make “expenditure, loan, promise, agreement or contract as to action when elected, in consideration for a vote.” Any person who knowingly violates this provision could be charged with a Class D felony, punishable by up to one to five years in prison.
“The allegations against Greg Fischer are serious and potentially criminal in nature,” Robertson wrote. “As Attorney General, you have an obligation to investigate and prosecute election fraud and public corruption.”
Since the story broke, the Fischer campaign has denied that any job was offered to the cycling advocate in exchange for his support. In a 30-second ad, the Fischer camp claims it has been exonerated from any alleged wrongdoing thanks to a story published by The Courier-Journal, which indicated that Green was only promised influence in developing an environmental office for the city.
Green has also backpedaled, acknowledging he sent the e-mail to his staff, but telling WHAS-TV that he cannot recall the details of the conversation, he has a “poor memory” and sometimes doesn’t remember his own wife or daughter’s birthday.
After the state GOP made its request, the Kentucky Democratic Party called for a similar investigation of Republican Hal Heiner’s campaign after Metro Council President Tom Owen, D-8, alleged that Heiner promised former Democratic mayoral candidate and 8664 co-founder Tyler Allen “significant input” in his potential administration, in exchange for Allen’s endorsement
“Tyler clearly stated to me that he was promised by the Heiner campaign to have input into transportation issues, if he endorsed Heiner and if Heiner won,” Owen said in the news release, responding to a recent Heiner ad. “Mr. Heiner, whom I respect, is being a hypocrite. I call on Hal to come clean with the public and with the voters.”
The Heiner campaign maintains that no conversation ever took place between their candidate and Allen, and quickly released two e-mails between their staff and Allen leading up to his announcement, which show only a discussion of a press release. The Heiner campaign says those are the only e-mail exchanges that took place and that Allen called to confirm the quote.