Interesting rumor out of Frankfort regarding personnel probe
We're hearing an interesting rumor out of Frankfort regarding the investigation into hiring practices during Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration that eventually torpedoed his re-election bid.
We've long held that the investigation was politically motivated, and sparked by one Transportation Cabinet employee with a personal grudge against Fletcher stemming from his inability to parlay his having gone to Lafayette High School with Fletcher into a cushy political appointment.
However, this rumor takes the investigation beyond the mere scope of political motivation into one of personal revenge.
The leading prosecutor in the grand jury probe was Scott Crawford-Sutherland, an employee of the attorney general's office under Ben Chandler who gave the maximum allowable campaign contributions to Chandler's ill-fated 2003 gubernatorial campaign. When Chandler lost the governor's race to Fletcher and Greg Stumbo took over as AG, Crawford-Sutherland stayed on with the AG's office.
We're hearing that Crawford-Sutherland either had designs on being the governor's general counsel if Chandler had won, or had in fact been promised the job. Fletcher's defeat of Chandler dashed that opportunity for Crawford-Sutherland, so he pushed the indictment of Fletcher staffers and eventually the governor himself out of a personal desire for revenge. Denied a plum political appointment, Crawford-Sutherland sough to do maximum damage to the man who spoiled his plans.
Couple that with Stumbo's political posturing and ladder-climbing, and you have the recipe for a witch hunt. It was bad enough that Stumbo used the attorney general's office for political gain, but when an employee uses his prosecutorial power to push a personal agenda of political revenge, that crosses a line.
Between the malevolent motives of the AG's office and the compromised integrity of the grand jury, which we've discussed many times, only a fool would take the indictments and the charges they presented seriously, as something legitimate and honest. Unfortunately, 65 percent of Kentucky's electorate got fooled in 2007, and all of us are left paying the price.