Greg Stumbo: Lying scumbag
As if Kentuckians in general, Republicans in particular and Gov. Fletcher specifically needed any reminders as to Greg Stumbo's lack of character, they got a jolting reminder earlier this week when one of Stumbo's lackeys told the press that the attorney general's office is considering referring the merit system investigation to federal prosecutors.
Nevermind that Stumbo had previously ruled out passing his "evidence" along to the feds. Apparently he's changed his mind.
Early in the course of the merit system persecution, Stumbo hinted that he might turn over his office's files to the feds. That became problematic, though, when Fletcher issued pardons to protect his staffers from Stumbo's politically-motivated witch hunt. Many of those staffers had rightly refused to cooperate with the grand jury, asserting their Fifth Amendment rights when subpoenaed to testify.
As the prosecutors continued with Fletcher in their sights, the question came up about forcing those who had taken the Fifth to testify against the governor since they themselves were in no danger of being prosecuted in state courts.
That is where Stumbo's previous statements about the feds came back to bite him. Those who had refused to cooperate in his persecution of the Fletcher administration pointed to his statements and said they would continue to take the Fifth, so any statements they made to the grand jury or in a trial of Fletcher could not be held against them in federal court.
Continuing his single-minded pursuit designed to bring down Fletcher and his administration, Stumbo then made public statements that he had no plans to turn the investigation over to the feds. That declaration, plus indications made by the feds that they would not use anything said in state court in a federal trial, seemingly paved the way for Fletcher staffers to be forced to testify against their governor before the grand jury or in a sham trial.
The decision by Stumbo not to pursue the state case and to dismiss the misdemeanor indictments with prejudice seemed to put the issue to rest.
But as Gomer Pyle would say, "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"
Now the attorney general's office is making noise about turning its files over to the feds, and used such a possibility as the basis to deny an open records request from the Lexington Herald-Leader for all the records relating to the investigation. (We suppose that if you cut the size of the paper, eliminate the daily TV listings and reduce the amount of news coverage you provide, you can save the money that will be needed to pay for copies of all that paperwork). Deputy AG Pierce Whites was the one who made the statement earlier this week.
The fact that the AG's office is even considering referring the case to the feds is again proof that Greg Stumbo has not one ounce of honesty or integrity in his body. He's certainly proven that in his personal life, through forcing the mother of his illegitimate child to sue for child support and then using the courts to harass her. Now, by entertaining the idea of a referral to the feds after pledging not to, he puts his lack of character and inegrity in an official capacity on display for the whole state to see.
This whole episode leads us to two damning conclusions about Stumbo. The first is the aforementioned lack of character and integrity. He proves that time and time again, which is why we refer to him as a lying scumbag. He has put his hypocrisy out for public view by prosecuting the governor and members of his administration for the exact same thing he did while a legislator during the Patton administration. Remember that Stumbo wrote to Gov. Paul Patton on House of Representatives letterhead, trying to use his political power to influence several merit system personnel actions. This is precisely the same thing that Stumbo prosecuted and persecuted Fletcher loyalists. He even indicted people not even on Fletcher's staff for making personnel recommendations. Funny that it was illegal if the Republicans did it, but not illegal if Democrats did.
But the second conclusion is probably more troubling from a professional perspective. It's becoming clear that Stumbo doesn't have control of his office.
Remember the news stories that resulted from a July 2005 meeting between Stumbo and Jim Deckard, Fletcher's general counsel, about the case? The general consensus was that Stumbo was seeking to bring the investigation to an end only a few months after it started, and in fact reached an agreement to that end with Deckard. But Whites and Scott Crawford-Sutherland (the prosecutor who has been accused of strong-arming a Scott County grand jury to return an indictment before it heard from all the witnesses it wanted testimony from) dissuaded Stumbo from stopping the investigation.
If Stumbo indeed had no plans to refer the merit system case to the feds, but if Whites and/or Crawford-Sutherland talked him into it -- or worse yet, if Whites was talking to the press of his own volition and without Stumbo's blessing -- then Stumbo is a weak leader. He needs to get control of his rogue employees now before they do further damage to his reputation.
Either way, the merit system persecution, which had been taken out of the headlines with the dismissal of the indictments against Fletcher, suddenly ended up back in the news cycles. With the 2007 governor's race now in full swing, and speculation running rampant that Stumbo may get in the race now that the state investigation's conclusion frees him of ethics constraints from running (not that Stumbo had any ethics to begin with), this would allow Stumbo to continue his pursuit of Fletcher without having to do it himself. (Remember that Stumbo said he would not run against Fletcher unless Fletcher became "wildly unpopular," then Stumbo embarked on his mission to ruin the governor's popularity).
At any rate, this whole turn of events is disgusting and it gives us even more of a window into the type of person Greg Stumbo really is. And the view isn't pretty at all.