Saturday, February 13, 2016

Gov. Lying Coward Ensures Watchdogs Can't Watch Him

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission caught and exposed Ernie Fletcher, but Matt Bevin has gutted the agency, leaving his administration free to wreak havoc with no accountability.

Adam Beam at AP:

As part of his proposed budget cuts, Republican Gov. Matt Bevin exempted what he considered to be key government services. Those not protected include agencies charged with holding him and his administration accountable.

Katie Gabhart, the executive director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, said the proposed 4.5 percent budget cut this year and the 9 percent cut over the next two years will devastate the agency. She said it would force her to lay off the agency's sole investigator and auditor, two employees who already work part time.

"We will be an investigative and auditing agency with no investigator and auditor," Gabhart told House lawmakers this week. "Public servants are going to violate the ethics code ... and if they know we have an ethics commission with so few resources that we can't enforce the code, then what is the point of having one?"

The cuts also include the Registry of Election Finance, the agency that makes sure politicians follow the rules when they raise and spend money for their campaigns. Executive Director John Steffen said the agency could not sustain a 9 percent cut and would not be able to hire an auditor. In response, House lawmakers suggested changing state law so fewer candidates would have to file disclosure reports.

"I don't know what statutory obligations can be changed and not render our entire agency meaningless," Steffen said.
 A single Democratic seat in the state House stands between Kentucky and the kind of all-repug government that has turned Kansas into Haiti.

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