Morgan County Probe: Partisan Hack Stumbo Strikes Again!!!!
Apparently Greg Stumbo is not content with unleashing a witch hunt, motivated by partisan political purposes, against a Republican governor elected from a state with a majority of registered Democrat voters.
Now Stumbo has turned his persecutorial and prosecutorial sights on a Republican county executive elected from a county that has been a traditional Democratic stronghold.
And scantly a month before that county judge-executive stands for re-election, no less.
For several weeks now, Democrats in Morgan County have been floating rumors alleging improper acts by County Judge-Executive Tim Conley, whose election four years ago was a shocker when he replaced a retiring Democrat county judge.
(For those of you who are geographically challenged, or think there's nothing worth seeing south of I-64 and east of I-75, Morgan County is located in the east-central part of the state. The county's slogan is "The Bluegrass County of the Mountains" and it is located roughly in the center of a triangle formed by I-64, US 23 and the Mountain Parkway. The county seat is West Liberty; the community is famous for its annual Sorghum Festival which was held just this past weekend; and the south shore of Cave Run Lake is one of its major attractions.)
And now here we are, on the eve of Conley's re-election bid, and word comes that at the attorney general office's request, a special grand jury has been empaneled in Morgan County. No one is discussing, for the record, the subject of the inquisition but rumors are strong that it's Conley.
By all accounts except those of the most partisan Democrats in West Liberty, Conley has been a breath of fresh air for his county. He's a political neophyte but has worked hard to bring projects to Morgan County. Most importantly, he broke a stronghold of Democratic rule in a Kentucky community that had previously been reluctant to elect Republicans. That followed a trend in which many other Kentucky counties have recently elected Republicans to top offices, sometimes for the first time ever.
However, Conley suffered the same problem as a lot of other GOP county judges in Democrat counties. The majority of the fiscal court was made up of obstructionist Democrats, who have tried as hard as they could the last four years to make his life miserable. Despite them, however, Conley has persevered and any objective evaluation of his performance would judge him worthy of consideration for re-election.
When Ernie Fletcher was elected governor three years ago, talk immediately turned to what Democrats might challenge him in 2007. Greg Stumbo said at the time he would not mount a campaign unless Fletcher became "wildly unpopular," then Stumbo proceeded to fulfill his own prophecy by embarking on the merit system investigation.
Stumbo succeeded in his goal to wound Fletcher politically, perhaps fatally, but Democrats aren't satisfied with the damage to Fletcher's re-electability inflicted by the attorney general. The indictment strong-armed by Stumbo's prosecutorial staff against Fletcher, drawn on the flimsiest of evidence that might have possibly linked Fletcher to admitted personnel mistakes by members of his administration, was all that was needed. Still the Democrats wanted more. They wanted Fletcher tried, convicted, forced from office, sent to prison and sexually violated while in the lockup as his just punishment for daring to take what they feel is their birthright.
Now Stumbo is meddling in the affairs of a county election, and something smells fishy. Morgan County is only one county removed from Floyd County, Stumbo's home, so there are lots of connections between the two mountain counties. The special prosecutor for the Conley Tribunal is Brent Turner, commonwealth's attorney from Floyd County and a political crony of Stumbo's. Neither Turner nor the AG's office will discuss the purpose of the grand jury, unlike the panel that was called into service in Frankfort to investigate alleged misdemeanors.
It's obvious that this is a political ploy. Why else do you start rumors and then seat a grand jury so close to an election if not to influence that election's outcome? One of two things is happening here. Either Greg Stumbo has no control over his office and is being used -- which seems more likely given Scott Crawford-Sutherland's recent self-serving opinion pieces published last week in the Herald-Leader and Courier-Journal; or he is using his powerful office for partisan purposes. If the former is true, Stumbo is too stupid to hold high office in this state. If the latter is true, his public life is as disgusting and shameful as his private life and he ought to resign in disgrace.