Is Herald-Leader sitting on a blockbuster story about Jonathan Miller?
We don't normally like to bargain in vile rumors about the personal lives of public figures or politicians. We'll leave that to others. We prefer to deal with documentable statements and facts, as well as the information provided to us by people we trust implicitly to pass along accurate information. However, we can't let this one go unnoticed, especially since there seems to be a concerted effort to stifle this story.
Back before the primary election, a rumor made the rounds on several Kentucky political blogs concerning outgoing state treasurer and Democratic Party chairman (and incoming Finance and Administration Cabinet secretary) Jonathan Miller. This rumor was about alleged inappropriate conduct with a co-worker. For many public figures, such rumors are a dime a dozen, but this one involved out-of-state travel and could easily be substantiated or debunked by state travel records.
The rumor was posted on several blogs, including Bluegrass Report (which was supporting Miller's candidacy), The Rural Democrat and the Herald-Leader's PolWatchers blog. None of the blogs bothered to delete the postings, not even Mark Nickolas' blog, which at the time was notorious for deleting posts and banning posters.
The rumor died down after Miller withdrew from the Democrat primary, but it grew legs again after Steve Beshear tapped Miller to be the finance secretary in his new administration.
On Oct. 18, on his kypolitics.org blog, Brett Hall reported that an investigative story about Miller's out-of-state travel with an employee of the state treasurer's office, sourced by information obtained from an open records request, was about to break. Hall's post contained links to the Bluegrass Report, Rural Democrat and PolWatchers posts on the subject.
After Miller's impending appointment to the cabinet secretary post was announced, the rumors began appearing anew on PolWatchers. And almost as quickly as they were posted, they were deleted by the PolWatchers administrator, reporter John Stamper. Even after posters provided links to where the information had previously been reported, Stamper deleted the posts and threatened those posters with banning, citing PolWatchers' comment policy. And, curiously, only then were the comments referred to in Hall's Oct. 18 post deleted.
The really odd part was that posts detailing supposed e-mail conversations between H-L reporters and the commenters were axed as well. The gist of those exchanges was that H-L reporter Ryan Alessi had copies of the travel documents at issue in the matter, and was working on a story concerning them, but the story was killed by the H-L editors.
This is a story that needs to be reported, and soon, for several reasons. One major reason is that Miller, who is Jewish, gained notoriety for writing a book about the Ten Commandments while serving as treasurer. It strikes us as being more than a bit hypocritical that someone who is still "under the law" and who professes to be an expert on the Decalogue may have violated one of those commandments.
But the overwhelming need for this to see the light of day is the timeliness of the situation. It's probably a safe bet that these incriminating travel documents, if they exist, have already gone missing from the treasurer's office. After Miller takes over Finance & Administration in December, the odds are good that they'll vanish from the files there too.
This is a story that needs to see the light of day. If the Herald-Leader is indeed sitting on it, the editors should be ashamed of themselves.