Former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer is likely headed to prison for about two years. His attorney says Farmer has reached a plea agreement in his government corruption case.
The plea agreement with state and federal prosecutors and the Executive Branch Ethics Commission would resolve all pending and potential charges related to Farmer’s illegal activities while head of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture from 2004 to 2011. Farmer was headed to trial in federal court next month on a five-count indictment, as well as a 42-count charge brought by the state ethics panel.
“This decision comes after much soul-searching and risk assessment by Richie and his family,” said Farmer’s attorney Guthrie True in a news release.
True acknowledged that federal prosecutors were planning to bring a second indictment, and the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office intends to file charges against Farmer and his sister alleging campaign finance allegations.
Democratic Senatorial candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is taking aim at a Republican strategist’s claims that she is “an empty dress.”
National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director Brad Dayspring also said Grimes is “incapable of articulating her own thoughts.” Members of Grimes’s camp joined liberal organizations in denouncing the comments as sexist.
Politico reports the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a fundraising solicitation Wednesday on the heels of the comments, telling supporters to counter what the group called “misogynistic attacks.”
Republican party officials, meanwhile, brushed off the accusations and pointed to the ongoing sexual harassment investigation surrounding Democratic state representative John Arnold of Union County.
Sen. Mitch McConnell's response to a question about his position on a possible military strike on Syria.
Kentucky’s senior U.S. Senator says while he hasn’t made up his mind on a possible U.S. strike in Syria, he’s certain American military forces won’t be placed inside that country.
Republican Mitch McConnell spoke to the Bowling Green Noon Rotary Club Wednesday, and said even those in Washington who are advocating for U.S. involvement in Syria are stopping short of calling for boots on the ground.
“I’m not just instinctively opposed to military action,” the Louisville Republican said. “I supported the Afghan war, and I supported the Iraq war. Certainly we need to be careful about doing it. I don’t think anybody supports putting any American military personnel there at all.”
McConnell said he would announce his position on Syria “in the coming days.”
The Senate Minority Leader said there’s no way to be certain which political or religious group would take over Syria if the current regime was toppled.
A WKU political analyst says the ongoing debate over possible U.S. military action in Syria comes at an opportune time for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.
Political Science Professor and Warren County Republican Party Chairman Scott Lasley says Paul has long talked about the U.S. needing to adopt a less aggressive foreign policy. Sen. Paul--who is considering a presidential run--has been a vocal opponent of U.S. military involvement in Syria, saying it’s not in America’s interest to get involved in another nation’s civil war.
Professor Lasley says Paul’s position is something that could attract voters who wouldn’t normally side with the Bowling Green Republican.
“Particularly with younger voters, where Republicans have struggled the last couple of election cycles. A lot of time there’s not a huge difference between younger voters and older voters, but one of the areas that you do see a difference is the aggressiveness of foreign policy.”
A Tea Party activist says he will appeal a circuit court's decision that allows Kentucky to expand Medicaid and create a health care exchange under the Affordable Care Act.
On Tuesday, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled that Governor Steve Beshear had the power to expand Medicaid to an additional 300,000 Kentuckians. The judge also upheld the governor's creation of a health insurance exchange, an online marketplace where consumers can shop for coverage.
In both lawsuits, Tea Party activist David Adams argued Beshear needed legislative approval. Adams remains confident he can win on appeal.
"I'm just glad to get the show on the road," remarks Adams. "We were headed to the Kentucky Supreme Court from the outset."
Expanded Medicaid will be available starting January 1, and the uninsured can start signing up on October 1.
The Legislative Ethics Commission wants to prohibit campaign contributions from employers of lobbyists and political action committees to lawmakers or legislative candidates when the General Assembly is in session.
The panel is asking lawmakers to approve that change when they convene in January.
The proposal would broaden an existing law that prohibits lobbyists from contributing to legislative campaigns.
If passed, more than 650 companies employing lobbyists would no longer be able to contribute to lawmakers or legislative candidates during sessions, nor would more than 140 state-registered PACs.
Sen. Paul's interview with WKU Public Radio about possible military action in Syria
U.S. Senator Rand Paul spoke to WKU Public Radio Friday about the possibility of U.S. military action against Syria following the regime's alleged use of chemical weapons.
The Bowling Green Republican talked about what the Constitution says about war powers, how the Syria issue is uniting those on the left and right, and he took a not-too-subtle jab at Hillary Clinton, in what could be a preview of a possible 2016 Presidential contest.
Here is the transcript of Sen. Paul's interview with WKU Public Radio's Kevin Willis:
Is a U.S. military strike against Syria inevitable?
"Maybe, maybe not. I'm trying very hard to prevent that from happening. The Constitution is very explicit. The Constitution says Congress gives the authority to declare war, not the President. The President, when he was a Senator, acknowledged this. He said no President should unilaterally go to war without Congressional authority."