Thursday, July 26, 2007

EXCLUSIVE: Another Personnel Board hearing officer's potential conflict of interest revealed

You may remember that back in March, we broke the news that the hearing officer contracted by the Personnel Board to hear Mike Duncan's complaint that he was improperly fired by the Transportation Cabinet had, like Duncan, been a supporter of and contributor to Democrat Ben Chandler's failed 2003 campaign for governor.

Now, it seems that another hearing officer with a political conflict of interest is presiding over the cases of two Transportation employees who filed Personnel Board complaints in one of the more high-profile actions arising out of the investigation by the attorney general's office into the merit system hiring practices of the Fletcher administration.

Attorney Ann Sheadel of Louisville maxed out to Ben Chandler in 2003, contributing $1,000 to his primary campaign on May 2, 2003 and another $1,000 to his general election campaign on July 12, 2003. At the time, Sheadel listed her occupation as an attorney with the Office of Attorney General. Of course, Chandler was attorney general at that time.

Since then, Sheadel has gone into private practice in Louisville and is one of the attorneys contracted by the Personnel Board to hear appeals of personnel actions by people who feel they have a grievance against the state.

Quite by accident, we learned that Sheadel is the hearing officer for two complaints filed out of one of the most controversial and politically charged personnel decisions that resulted in an indictment. Both employees sought a promotion and neither one got it. (A third unsuccessful applicant eventually ended up filing a federal lawsuit over the situation.)

One of the employees in question was an ardent Chandler supporter; the other was a Democrat who supported Fletcher.

Someone needs to keep a sharp eye out for Sheadel's recommendations in these cases, and the Personnel Board's ultimate decisions. If it turns out that a Chandler supporter sides with another Chandler supporter against the Fletcher administration, that's probably not a coincidence. At that point, it would be incumbent on Gov. Fletcher to order the Personnel Board to clean house and get rid of the conflicted hearing officers in favor of some unbiased and non-politically active lawyers.

A list of hearing officers used by the Personnel Board is available at It might be an interesting excursion to see just how many of those officers have given political contributions, and to whom. That information can be found at, the Registry of Election Finance's web site with a searchable database.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Dems show their hand for '08 Senate race: "Mitch is Gay," they'll say

When Mitch McConnell first ran for the United States Senate in 1984, as a substantial underdog against Democrat incumbent Dee Huddleston, the whispers were everywhere. Democrats delighted in claiming that McConnell was a homosexual. His political enemies took glee in trying to tell the world that "Mitch is gay." More than a few of them delighted in using the same term, a three-letter word that begins with "f" or a six-letter variation of that term, that got Ann Coulter in trouble a couple of months back.

Over on that cesspool once known as, one brave conservative was called a liar for pointing this out in recalling the 1984 campaign, even as other posters were continuing to repeat the mantra.

The slime campaign didn't work. McConnell's bloodhounds chased Huddleston out of office and McConnell has served Ketnucky in a generally admirable fashion since then.

Although McConnell has rolled up three more victories since he first won office, the Democrats have never shied away from pulling that tired old claim out every six years.

This year, however, with the advent of blogs as an information (or disinformation, in this case) dissemination tool, it's reaching epidemic proportions. (See the above-referenced cite for an example). The moonbats keep claiming that McConnell has been outed, they have "proof," some big news is getting ready to come out, blah blah blah.

"Mitch is Gay." Is that what the Democrats plan to put on bumper stickers?

The problem is that while these rumors have been tried since 23 years ago and have never worked, one potential Democrat candidate has real live baggage just waiting to be exploited. Even the Democrat-coddling mainstream press in this state is dredging up the sordid details of Greg Stumbo's history as a deadbeat dad and unfaithful husband, not to mention his infamous "disappearing DUI."

Republicans are salivating at the thoughts of a teenage boy following Stumbo around at his campaign appearances, holding a sign saying "Where's my child support?"

Stumbo's baggage is well documented. There aren't whispers and rumors of big news to come and defamatory claims, such as the Dems are floating on McConnell. Instead, there's a legal paper trail and a paternity test.

We'll continue to laugh at all the "Mitch is Gay" posts. They didn't work in 1984, they haven't worked since, and they won't work now. If McConnell loses, which is unlikely, it'll be for some other reason, not because the loony lefties -- those who claim to love homosexuals and want equal treatment for gays -- keep claiming McConnell's gay and are trying to use it against him in a political campaign.

Lies and hypocrisy -- standard operating procedure for liberal Democrats.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Courier-Journal flaunts its hypocrisy

In an editorial in today's Courier-Journal, the noted liberal newspaper quotes Atticus Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" thusly:

"A court is only as sound as its jury, and a jury is only as sound as the men who make it up."

The C-J uses that quote to comment on the recently erupted controversy in Jefferson County over people failing to show up for jury duty, but we think it could be more aptly applied to the grand jury that indicted Gov. Fletcher and other members of his adminstration in the personnel probe.

No one, except this blog, has ever probed the financial conflict of interest that existed with state employees, who failed to receive 5 percent annual pay raises under this administration, indicting officials responsible for those policies.

The forewoman of the grand jury, Rachel Auxier, lost somewhere between $12,000 and $16,000 because she didn't get four years worth of 5 percent raises, and we know there were several other state employees on that grand jury whose names we have not yet revealed. (Key word yet.)

We know that C-J reporters read this blog. It was quoted in one of their stories. So the C-J is most definitely aware of the financial conflicts of interest that compromised the grand jury's objectivity.

If a jury is only as sound as the people who comprise it, as the C-J indicates it believes by using the quote above, then the C-J is inadvertently admitting that the grand jury that returned indictments against Fletcher and others in his administration was fatally flawed and its integrity compromised beyond repair.

If the state's liberal media is going to go to pieces over Fletcher appointing a contributor to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, where's the outrage over people who were impacted financially by the state's increment policies having the ability to levy criminal charges against those responsible for the policies?

Greg Stumbo: Failing to meet a higher standard

There is a reason that it's big news when a police officer, prosecutor or judge is charged with a crime. We rightly hold those who have the responsibility of enforcing the law to a higher standard. We expect them to obey the laws they uphold.

As Kentucky's attorney general, Greg Stumbo has failed to meet that higher standard.

Stumbo has spent most of his four years in office on a political vendetta against Kentucky's first Republican governor in three decades. Stumbo eventually abandoned his pursuit of Ernie Fletcher, but not before the political damage was done. Fletcher trails in the polls in this fall's gubernatorial election and that is pretty much because of the hiring investigation. Despite the charges against Fletcher being dismissed with prejudice, the brain-damaged liberals who infest this state's Democrat and press blogs come up with cutesy little slogans like "Too Criminal For Kentucky' or call him "Fletcher the Felon," nevermind that all of the charges against him were misdemeanors.

What makes Stumbo fall short of the higher standard we expect from our prosecutors is the fact that he and his office prosecuted Fletcher and members of the administration for exactly the same kind of conduct in which Stumbo personally engaged while he was a legislator.

When he served as House floor leader and a representative from Floyd County, Stumbo traded on his political influence in an attempt to secure state merit system jobs for friends and acquaintances and friends-of-friends. There is written proof of this activity through letters sent to Gov. Paul Patton. A little investigation would probably show similar missives addressed to Brereton Jones and Wallace Wilkinson, too, as well as bureaucrats in the various state administrative agencies. And who knows how many phone calls Stumbo may have made?

The ironic thing is that Stumbo didn't stop with indicting members of Fletcher's administration. His office also succeeded in getting true bills against volunteers and political advisers who had no official job with state government and thus no authority to hire anyone. They merely recommended people for employment.

In other words, Stumbo indicted them for doing the same thing he himself had done.

This, obviously, is a personal and professional failing of Stumbo (one of many) but it is also just one of several indicators of just how flawed this whole investigation was.

Back during the primary, we posted on how the whole campaign against Fletcher was built on a house of cards. Nothing's changed. Fletcher trails in the polls merely because of a handful of personnel decisions, none of which involved improperly firing a merit system employee with status; a flawed criminal investigation led by biased prosecutors who lacked the moral authority to conduct it; and flawed indictments returned by a grand jury chock full of people who had suffered financially because of this administration's increment policies. And we have since learned of the political leanings of the circuit judge who supervised the grand jury.

And none of this takes into account the malevolent motives and dishonesty of the whistleblower who triggered the whole thing.

Now comes news that Stumbo is considering challenging U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell next year. We hope he does. It will put Stumbo's political career to rest for good. Stumbo's record has never gotten statewide scrutiny. The Republican attorney general candidate in 2003 had warts aplenty himself, so he couldln't fully vet Stumbo's history, and the Democrat gubernatorial slates' "play nice" agreement this spring silenced criticism. But McConnell is a vicious campaigner and he will expose and exploit every flaw in an opponent. And Stumbo has flaws aplenty.

We can't wait to see what Mitch's bloodhounds can sniff out on Stumbo. But in the meantime, we recognize that Stumbo has failed to meet the standards we expect our most powerful enforcement officials to uphold. He's the one who has to live with that realization, but it's too bad that the entire state has suffered because of it.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Two comments on the first debate

Yesterday, Gov. Fletcher and Steve Beshear met in the first of what will no doubt be many debates and joint appearances between now and November. This debate came in the shadow of a poll, largely ignored by the state's largest print media outlets, that shows Beshear's initial large lead in the polls shrinking dramatically to a statistical dead heat.

While perusing press coverage of the Louisville debate before a group of local officials (county judges and fiscal court members), two statements stood out. Both are quotes from Beshear.

First was this quote from the Courier-Journal, in response to Fletcher's statement that the Transportation Cabinet is becoming more cost-efficient: "If everything I read in the paper about the Transportation Cabinet is accurate, I'm not sure I'd be bragging about it up here."

Mr. Beshear, everything you read in the paper is NOT accurate. We've documented it here on several occasions. The papers are only giving you part of the story. They have never printed the facts on the background of the hiring investigation. In fact, the only place we've seen them is here. The press is presenting half-truths, untruths and wild allegations as absolute fact.

The second item of interest was this Beshear quote: "I don't have a clue."

He was talking about how to solve the state's pension shortfall situation, but he could have been talking about his candidacy and his ideas in general.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Campaign idea for Gov. Fletcher

Larry Dale Keeling may be on to something.

The well-known Fletcher hater weighed in on his (misinformed as usual) opinion of the special session over the weekend. Among his arguments against the session was his assertion that if the General Assembly approves the list of capital projects on the agenda, then Gov. Fletcher would have lots of opportunities to present ceremonial checks this fall.

We'd like to take that one step further.

If the House of Crybabies refuses to come back into session later this month, then we think Gov. Fletcher ought to make public appearances in every community affected by the loss of these projects. He ought to go ahead and present an oversized check, but that check should be overprinted in big letters with the words, "Voided by Kentucky Democrats." Then he could explain how the projects had to be cut from the 2006 budget because the state lacked the funding and/or bonding capacity, but how because of his administration's financial stewardship, the money was available this year and/or our bond rating had improved to the point where the projects were feasible.

But while playing politics as usual, the Democrats in Kentucky not only turned down the projects, but the economic benefits of the coal conversion plants and the beneficial effects of items such as the Horse Park improvements for the World Equestrian Games and the Blue Grass Airport runway expansion.

It'd make a great visual presentation, would certainly garner attention, and it would absolutely get the point across.

Marty Ryall or Stan Cave, if you're reading, get to work on this now in case the House leaders continue to act like whiny brats.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

What if Jody had won?

A couple of us were sitting around night when one asked the question, "What if Jody had won the Democrat primary? Would he be acting this way?"

The answer we came up with was a resounding "no."

If it was Jody vs. Ernie this fall, we have no doubt that Jody would not have illegally recessed the House in a fit of pique. Instead, he'd be pushing the legislation through so he could claim some credit for it.

But because Jody lost, he's acting like a petulant schoolboy who didn't get an extra piece of pie at dessert, and Kentucky stands to lose out on hundreds of jobs and the much-needed airport expansion at Blue Grass Airport.

(Contrary to what Jody and his cronies say, we tend to think the airport board knows what they need and when they need it more than the Democrat leadership in the house does).

We read a comment on the Courier-Journal's web site urging the governor to have the house members arrested and ordered to report back to work if they do not reconvene on Monday. That's sounding more and more like an excellent idea to us.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Christmas in July

That's how one conservative commentator on another blog described yesterday's decision by Jody Richards and the House Democrats to adjourn on the first day of the special session, and we couldn't say it better ourselves.

While Richards may think he's done something great and glorious, the reality is that once again he's proven that Kentucky Democrats are too smart by half. By adjourning the sesson prematurely, he's played right into the hands of Gov. Fletcher and Senate Republicans.

While the House has gone home, the Senate will continue to work. The agenda items are matters that will prove to be a great benefit to this state. When the Senate passes this meaningful legislation and sends it to the House, those members will be AWOL.

Richards and company have chosen partisan politics over the betterment of the Commonwealth. If the state loses the jobs from the coal conversion plant, the matching federal grant for the Blue Grass Airport runway expansion, and the other opportunities being addressed in this special session, it will be solely the fault of the Democrat leaders in the house.

Although Senate President David Williams has said he won't get involved in a court fight to bring the House back into session, the possibility is likely that Gov. Fletcher will, especially if the House does not reconvene within the 72 hours required by the Constitution. And Richards is almost certain to lose the court case.

Despite the crowing from Democrats and their supporters, this is no win for Richards and the Dems. This has the potential to be a huge, sweeping victory for Fletcher and the Kentucky GOP. The Democrats have already been exposed for the partisan crybabies they are through their decision to shut down the house. When they lose in court and in the court of popular opinion, and when they have to explain to their constituents why their petty political acts cost this state several hundred jobs, they'll have so much egg on their faces that this state could eat omelets for weeks.

Yep, Christmas in July. Thanks Jody. And that's pretty paper on that package, too.