Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator is trying to reach out to Tea Party groups as he seeks another six-year term in Washington.
Mitch McConnell needs to shore up support on the Republican right in order to fend off a primary challenge next year. Sen. McConnell knew he would have a challenge from Democrats in 2014. What he was hoping to avoid was a primary challenge from a fellow Republican.
But that’s exactly what he has now, following Louisville investment advisor Matt Bevin’s entrance into the race. Bevin is officially announcing Wednesday that he will seek the GOP Senate nomination, creating a primary fight for McConnell.
McConnell isn't taking the news lying down.
Politico reports McConnell played host to the Tea Party caucus Tuesday in Washington, at a celebration honoring the birthday of former Senator Bob Dole. McConnell has had a strained relationship with the Tea Party, at first largely ignoring the movement, and then trying to mend fences when the Tea Party showed it had become a major powerbroker within the GOP.
Tea party activists have asked a judge to resolve a lawsuit over the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange by granting a summary judgment.
Irvine attorney Michael Dean filed a motion Thursday asking that Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd rule in favor of the activists. They also want a permanent injunction that would essentially shut down the exchange, a product of the federal health care overhaul intended to help uninsured people arrange health insurance coverage.
Attorneys for the state asked last month that the tea party lawsuit be dismissed. But Shepherd refused.
Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange is set to begin open enrollment Oct. 1, and the exchange starts operation Jan. 1.
The tea party has won the first round in a lawsuit that questions the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange that Gov. Steve Beshear set up last year by executive order.
Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip J. Shepherd refused to dismiss the lawsuit on Thursday, as had been requested by attorneys for the state.
The state argued unsuccessfully that taxpayers don’t have legal standing to challenge the legality of the Kentucky Health Benefits Exchange, which is intended to help uninsured people arrange insurance coverage under the federal health care overhaul.
Tea party activist David Adams filed the lawsuit last month, claiming Beshear created the exchange without necessary legislative approval. Adams wants Shepherd to order work on the exchange to cease.
Kentucky Tea Party groups are planning rallies Tuesday to protest the IRS targeting of Tea Party and conservative groups for extra review.
Two of Kentucky's largest Tea Party groups will protests outside IRS offices in their respective areas: the Northern Kentucky Tea Party will protest in Cincinnati and Louisville's group will join southern Indiana groups to protest in Louisville.
Louisville Tea Party President Sarah Durand says the protests show that Tea Party groups won't stand by quietly while the controversy unfolds.
"So this is our way of saying something needs to be done, there needs to be more action taken and that we refuse to be silenced," she says.
The Justice Department is opening an investigation into the IRS reviews.
As the scandal surrounding the targeting of tea party groups by the IRS continues, some Kentucky tea party activists are upset with Senator Mitch McConnell's role in the process—even as the state party is asking them to support him.
In Kentucky, only the statewide 9/12 project has come forward to acknowledge that they were targeted and that they were rejecting the IRS' apology on the matter.
But that hasn't stopped Kentucky politicians, including McConnell, from consistently pointing to the issue. He's demanded a full investigation into the matter.
The Republican Party of Kentucky is circulating a letter to back up McConnell on his efforts, asking tea party activists in Kentucky to sign it.
But Kentucky tea party activist David Adams called the attempts opportunistic.
With only two days left in the legislative session, Tea Party activists are encouraging Kentucky Senators to not confirm Insurance Commissioner Sharon Clark.
So far, the Senate has approved all of Governor Steve Beshear's appointments except Clark. Many activists are upset with her role in implementing the Affordable Care Act in Kentucky and they hope to send a message to the governor by blocking her nomination.
A Senate spokeswoman says whether lawmakers will consider the nomination when they return from recess later this month is still “to be determined.” David Adams is the lead activist calling for the rejection of Clark.
"We have to send a signal that this is a problem, this is unacceptable and must be dealt with swiftly and surely," says Adams.
Both the Department of Insurance and the Governor's Office declined to comment.
As the 2013 Kentucky legislative session begins, Tea Party activists are encouraging lawmakers to abandon the implementation of the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — in the state because of fiscal and health care concerns.
About 50 activists rallied in the Capitol Rotunda Tuesday; they wanted their state legislators to hear their concerns as the 2013 legislative session began.
Kentucky can’t afford running its own health exchanges or to expand Medicaid, argued David Adams, a rally organizer.
“It doesn’t take a forensic accountant to look at our fiscal situation and realize that we have no business getting into this sandbox whatsoever,” Adams says.
A judge’s order blocking a Christian health sharing group from doing business in Kentucky has rallied supporters. This week, Judge Thomas Wingate ordered Christian Care Medishare to stop operating in the commonwealth immediately as part of an on-going legal battle between Medishare and the state. Christian members of Medishare pay into an account that can be used to pay other members' medical bills. And the state says the organization must follow the same rules as insurance companies.