Saturday, November 03, 2007

Party like it's 1995

With apologies to Prince for ripping off his hit song "1999," it looks like the Democrats are partying like it's 1995 in Louisville.

KyPolitics has the story about a massive vote-buying operation in Louisville's west end and other predominately black sections of Jefferson County, backed and run primarily by the labor unions.

Sound familiar? Many in Kentucky are convinced that the only reason Paul Patton beat Larry Forgy in a close gubernatorial race back in '95 was because of rampant vote fraud in Louisville. An investigation into those allegations led to the indictment of Gov. Patton's chief of staff Skipper Martin and three labor union officials. Early on in the prosecution, prosecutors in Attorney General Ben Chandler's office were publicly discussing the possibility of the vote fraud allegations being so serious that the results of the '95 election could be voided. Of course, the prosecutors never went that far, but they did give the Luv Gov ample opportunity to practice his alliteration when he claimed that Chandler wanted "to put Paul Patton in prison."

We all know how that turned out. The case was assigned to a corrupt special circuit judge, who eventually dismissed the charges and called the law under which Martin and his co-defendants were arrested "unconstitutionally vague." Appeals courts reinstated the charges and late in Patton's term, after the charges were fully back in place, he pardoned them before they ever went to trial.

(Why do we call the special judge "corrupt?" For several reasons. One, after he issued his ruling, he was heard telling people around his hometown that the Patton administration owed him because "I did my duty." He was also reportedly under investigation by federal authorities for cozying up to drug dealers and giving them slap-on-the wrist sentences, a reputation that caused his defeat in last year's election. And he also had to give up some of his criminal cases, most notably drug cases, to a special judge assigned by Operation UNITE. He was also accused of being a drug user in a sworn deposition filed in a court case. Sounds like evidence of corruption to us.)

At any rate, we may be looking at 1995 all over again. It will be interesting to see if local officials prosecute it, or if it falls to the attorney general's office. We have no doubts that should he be elected, Stan Lee will be all over it. But since Jack Conway's from Louisville and is a beneficiary of this drive since it reportedly emphasizes straight-ticket Democrat voting, we have our doubts if he'll lift a finger to look into this.

The Republican Party of Kentucky and the Ernie Fletcher campaign were criticized for pointing out the Steve Beshear camp's payout to Philadelphia-based Urban Projects, Inc., which has been linked to vote fraud in the City of Brotherly Love. Since the first report came out, apparently Urban Projects has gotten even more business from Kentucky.

We'll be watching this to see how it turns out. We begrudgingly give Ben Chandler credit for ignoring political loyalties and prosecuting a charge that strikes at the very heart and intregrity of the election process (although he never did go after the many and even some admitted merit system violations during Patton's term). So now we have to ask, WWJD? That, of course, means "What Will Jack Do?"

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