Adam Edelen

Edelen And Jones’ Political Project Seeks New Ideas, Leaders

Aug 17, 2016
J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky’s former state auditor and the host of the state’s most popular sports talk radio show have launched a new nonprofit political organization they say is focused more on generating ideas than electing people to office.

Former Auditor Adam Edelen and Kentucky Sports Radio host Matt Jones formally launched the New Kentucky Project on Tuesday.

The group aims to have chapters in all 120 counties governed by an executive committee. Members will pay $20 annual dues, or $10 for college students. It will focus on education, health care, modernizing the state’s economy and other hot-button political issues in Kentucky.

The group signals the return of Edelen, the former state auditor who was preparing a run for the U.S. Senate before he lost re-election to former Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon.

And it is the first political work for Jones, whose show has become a must-stop for candidates seeking statewide office.

Kentucky LRC

A Louisville lawmaker says she is crafting legislation that would help curb the state’s backlog of untested rape kits and reform the system of reporting the kits.

Sen. Denise Harper-Angel, a Democrat from Louisville, introduced the bill that required state Auditor Adam Edelen to tally up the total number of untested rape kits in the state. Edelen released a report Monday that revealed more than 3,000 are sitting untested in Kentucky’s state and local law enforcement offices.

The report partly blames the problem on a lack of funding for the Kentucky State Police Forensics Lab, which conducts the DNA testing of kits.

Harper-Angel said she’s working on legislation to ensure the swift and proper handling of the kits.

“I’m going to fight hard for additional funding for KSP and the crime lab,” said Harper-Angel, who sits on the Senate’s appropriations committee. “I’m going to rely on many of the recommendations in the report.”

Edelen’s report detailed local law enforcement agencies routinely failing to send along rape kits to the state forensics lab. In the report, he proposed requiring local law enforcement agencies to submit rape kits within 10 days of receiving them. He also recommended requiring the state forensics lab to test the kits within 90 days.

Adam Edelen, Facebook

Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen announced the launch of an investigation into issues surrounding Bowling Green’s Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, district Wednesday at the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

The TIF program allows local governments to use tax revenues they would get in the future to fund current improvements.

In Bowling Green, $25.5 million in bonds were issued for construction of business properties surrounding a parking garage. But Edelen said it’s not clear where that money has gone.

“The project collapsed this year after restaurants in the commercial wrap of the parking garage in Block 6 of the Bowling Green TIF district, and contractors alleged they hadn’t been paid.”

Edelen said two auditors have been assigned to examine all the parties and contracts  involved in the project.

Adam Edelen, Facebook

State Auditor Adam Edelen will host 13 meetings across Kentucky as part of an audit into the estimated thousands of untested rape kits in the state.

During a committee hearing earlier this year, Kentucky State Police officials estimated that the state had as many as 5,000 untested rape kits.

In April, Edelen announced that his office is auditing police and prosecutors to find out precisely how many kits haven’t been tested. His office also aims to find the cause for the backlog.

In a statement on Wednesday, Edelen said the meeting will be an important part of looking into the “complex issues surrounding untested rape kits.”

“I hope to hear from law enforcement, prosecutors, survivors and others as we begin working toward recommending reforms to the system,” Edelen said on Wednesday.

An increase in Medicaid services and a decline in the private insurance market in rural Kentucky has hit rural hospitals hard, according to State Auditor Adam Edelen.

More than two-thirds of Kentucky’s rural hospitals are below the national average on a financial strength rating system, and more than one-third are considered to be in poor financial health, according to a report released Monday.

The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce wants a full performance audit of the troubled Kentucky Retirement Systems.

Chamber President Dave Adkisson Thursday called on state Auditor Adam Edelen to look into KRS, which is rated as one of the most underfunded pension plans in the nation, with only about 45-percent of the assets needed to cover its retirement obligations.

Adkisson said his group is especially concerned about the burden placed on the actuary who advises the system.

“The assumptions they make lead to KRS recommendations, and a request for money that goes to the Governor,” Adkisson said during a conference call with reporters. “The Governor has to utilize that information to build his budget that goes to the legislature, and all of this is predicated on the assumptions of one actuary. And KTRS, the teachers’ retirement system, uses the same actuary.”

Adkisson says a KRS audit should also look into the amount of investment fees paid by the system, and how that compares to other states. An estimated 30-percent of KRS investments are held in hedge funds and private equity funds, which charge high fees and whose holdings KRS agrees not to reveal.

Edelen Rules Out 2015 Run for Kentucky Governor

Jun 18, 2014

Citing a need to be with his family, Democratic Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen has declared he won't run for governor next year.

Speculation was rampant that Edelen would enter the contest, but he quelled it with an announcement  Wednesday. 

“My wife and my sons were all gung-ho for me to run, but at the end of the day I made the determination that I’d rather spend the next year-and-a-half coaching little league and catching crooks and running for re-election than I would worrying about my name ID in a governor’s race,” said Edelen

Attorney General Jack Conway is currently the only Democrat seeking the governor's office. 

Edelen says he is withholding any endorsements until more candidates enter the race. 

But he thinks Conway will benefit from greater name recognition among voters. Republican Hal Heiner of Louisville is the only Republican to announce a gubernatorial candidacy so far.

Edelen says he is “absolutely” considering running for governor in the future.

Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture

The list of confirmed 2015 Kentucky candidates for governor grew Tuesday, when Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway announced he was running for the office.

He joins Republican and former Louisville Metro Council member Hal Heiner, who announced earlier this year his gubernatorial bid.

Kentucky political observers will now turn their attention on a handful of other potential candidates for governor.

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has said he is strongly considering a run for Governor, but only if Democrats hang on to their majority in the state House.

Stumbo was the running mate for gubernatorial candidate Bruce Lundsford in 2007, a ticket that lost the primary to Steve Beshear and Daniel Mongiardo.

Other potential Democratic 2015 candidates include state Auditor Adam Edelen and former U.S. Congressman Ben Chandler, who is currently executive director of the Kentucky Humanities Council.

Former state Auditor Crit Luallen announced last month that she won’t run for governor.

On the Republican side, the most high-profile would-be candidate appears to be Agriculture Commissioner and Monroe County farmer James Comer.

Democrat Luallen Won't Run For Kentucky Governor in 2015

Apr 24, 2014

Former Kentucky state auditor Crit Luallen says she will not run for governor in 2015.

Luallen has been mentioned as a possible Democratic contender as Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear finishes his second term.

In a written statement, Luallen said Thursday she is passionate about Kentucky's future but decided not to run because it was the best decision for her family.

Luallen's decision could open the door for Attorney General Jack Conway, a Luallen ally, to seek the Democratic nomination. Current state Auditor Adam Edelen is also considering running for governor. Republican Hal Heiner is the only person to officially announce as a candidate.

Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo has asked Democrats to delay their candidacies until after the November elections, in which Alison Lundergan Grimes is running for U.S. Senate and Democrats are trying to keep control of the state House of Representatives.

A state agency responsible for Kentucky's response to weather disasters and other emergencies was slammed Tuesday by a team of auditors who found misuse of taxpayer money, intimidation of employees and an overtly hostile workplace.

Auditor Adam Edelen said Tuesday that Kentucky Emergency Management may have misspent millions in recent years, some of it on alcohol, entertainment and door prizes at conferences.

Edelen also said the team that conducted the review found documents had been altered to hide inappropriate expenditures. He said his team identified as much as $5.6 million in questionable spending.

"The report paints a picture of agency leadership that does not believe the rules apply to it," Edelen said in a statement. "The findings raise concerns about waste and abuse that may have gone undetected and jeopardize federal funding meant to prepare the commonwealth for emergencies."

A bill reforming how the state's special districts are categorized and making them more transparent easily passed the state House this morning, 96-1.

State Rep. Lynn Belcher, a Republican from Crittenden County, was the lone "no" vote.

Many local library boards, sewer districts and fire districts are considered special taxing districts separate from other types of government.

House Bill 1 is a partnership between Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. It helps create a central registry of special districts as well as reforms how they file their financial information and sets penalties when they fail to do so.

Efforts to reform the laws concerning more than 1,000 special taxing districts are quickly moving in Frankfort this week.

The reforms were filed as House Bill 1 Tuesday and are a partnership between Auditor Adam Edelen and House Speaker Greg Stumbo. It would create an online registry to list the special districts and their required financial paperwork.

It would also re-designate them as special purpose governmental entities. The registry will be paid for initially with a special appropriation through the governor's office, then supplemented by fees on the special districts.

Edelen says the quick path the bill is expected to take shows that Frankfort can work to together on meaningful reforms.

The No. 1 priority for the Kentucky House in 2013 is set: Tackling recommendations from a recent report that found that special tax districts have big budgets and little oversight.  Auditor Adam Edelen recently finished a report on the districts, detailing billions of dollars in spending with little or no oversight.

Ashley Judd is the most discussed potential Democratic candidate to challenge U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell' for his seat in 2014, but not all Kentucky Democratic statewide officers are supporting the idea. Auditor Adam Edelen said he'll be encouraging and supporting Alison Lundergan Grimes, the Kentucky secretary of state, for the 2014 senate race -- because of Grimes' focus on state, not national, issues.

As Democrats head to Charlotte, North Carolina this week for the Democratic National Convention, many Kentucky delegates will be going for the first time. Auditor Adam Edelen is one of those first-timers. Edelen says he thinks his party will show why they truly are the best representatives and supporters of the middle class.